The COVID-19 pandemic continued to significantly change how we connected with our communities in 2021. The following information details how the Community Health team pivoted to care for our communities, and especially care for the most at-risk members of our region. The pandemic magnified health disparities and inequities for minority populations, and we acknowledged the need to address and alleviate the issues that were causing even more distress for them.
COVID-19 vaccine clinics serve local communities
Vaccination is the most important public health measure we have to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In 2021, Cleveland Clinic coordinated a strategy for prioritizing and administering COVID-19 vaccines per CDC and state guidelines. A key focus of this process included ensuring that those who were at higher risk of infection and death from the virus – including Black, Hispanic and underserved communities – had access to the vaccine.
In Cleveland, part of our strategy included opening vaccination clinics at locations embedded and well-regarded within their communities. Cleveland Clinic opened 10 vaccination locations in Northeast Ohio in 2021, including a community-based vaccination clinic at the Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center on March 8th, and a vaccination clinic at Lutheran Hospital on May 4. Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center is a gathering place for health and wellbeing in the Fairfax neighborhood, and Lutheran Hospital has been a fixture in the community for over 100 years, serving the needs of Downtown Cleveland and the surrounding neighborhoods of Ohio City, Tremont and Gordon Square. In 2021, Cleveland Clinic administered more than 350,000 doses of vaccine in Northeast Ohio.
Women's Health/Men's Health
Mammography Clinic at the Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center
The Mammography Clinic provides breast exams, women’s health education and more. Breast Exams and mammogram screenings are usually covered under most insurance plans. Cleveland Clinic offers financial aid for the uninsured and underinsured. Interested individuals can complete a financial assistance application to determine financial responsibility. The Mammography Clinic is offered through a collaboration between Community Relations and Taussig Cancer Institute.
Interested individuals can schedule an appointment by calling 216.444.2626 and specifying they would like to schedule a mammogram at Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center.
$2.5 million committed to Hitchcock Center for Women
Cleveland Clinic is committed to supporting treatments and recovery for women and children. Located in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood, the Hitchcock Center for Women is the only treatment center in Northeast Ohio that provides women and their children with housing, while also providing treatment for substance use issues that is woman- and family-centered. In 2021, Cleveland Clinic committed $2.5 million to the Hitchcock Center for Women to help establish its new residential treatment center, which will allow for expanded care and a better environment to serve patients.
Cleveland Clinic survey finds some men prefer seeing their doctor virtually
A national survey by Cleveland Clinic revealed that some men prefer seeing their doctor virtually, especially when it comes to discussing men’s health issues. Conducted in 2021, the survey was issued as part of Cleveland Clinic’s sixth annual educational campaign, “MENtion It®,” which aims to address the fact that men often do not “MENtion” health issues or take steps to prevent them.
According to the survey, 44% of all men said they prefer discussing sexual health issues with a doctor online or over the phone because they are too embarrassed to do it in person, and 66% of all men had used digital health services in the past 12 months. Catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cleveland Clinic went from 37,000 virtual visits in 2019 to 1.2 million in 2020 and continued to see increased use of virtual healthcare services in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
One aim of MENtion It® campaign is to bring more awareness to health issues specific to men of color, such as barriers impacting access to care and cultural differences when discussing health issues. These findings have helped us understand better ways of reaching men of color, such as adding a Hispanic Men’s Health Clinic at Cleveland Clinic Lutheran Hospital, a location with a large Hispanic population. We’ve also added additional options to our virtual health services, such as virtual primary care. Our hope is to continue educating men that early detection through preventive health screenings and checkups is essential to diagnosing many conditions while they are still in early treatable and curable stages.
Maternal and Infant Health
Cleveland Clinic works internally and with regional partners, such as First Year Cleveland, Full Term First Birthday and others, to help us connect mothers to resources that can help address high rates of infant mortality. We continued working on improving birth outcomes and making progress on community goals in priority areas, which include Cuyahoga, Lorain and Summit Counties. We focus on reducing prematurity, expanding the practice of centering pregnancy, increasing awareness about safe sleep and breastfeeding, and addressing social determinants of health and health disparities. Recent highlights include:
- Training more than 2,272 Cleveland Clinic caregivers on safe sleep.
- Answering 6,264 breastfeeding warm line calls to support breastfeeding families in 2021.
- Providing newborn well-being classes to 12,194 participants in 2021, which includes safe sleep, prenatal care, family and grandparent education, boot camps for dads and baby showers.
- Supporting 94 vulnerable expectant moms in 2021 with an OB navigator, whose role is to improve coordination of care for obstetrics patients before, during and after birth.
The COVID-19 pandemic further underscored the critical impact of social determinants on maternal and infant health. To increase access to educational programming about healthy pregnancy and ways to minimize complications for populations most at risk, we continued and expanded offerings on virtual platforms.
Cleveland Clinic Children’s School-Based Health Mobile Unit has provided medical and mental health services in local communities since November 2014. School-Based Health has focused on delivering quality healthcare to underserved children in grades K-12 in the Cleveland, Lakewood, East Cleveland, Maple Heights and Warrensville Heights school districts. The mobile unit, which acts as a full-service pediatric office, provides health and wellness services including: complete physical examinations, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness; immunizations; first aid and more. We also serve the Step Forward Head Start Program for Pre-K children.
Impacts of our School-Based Health Mobile Unit and Lakewood In-School Clinic from September 2020-June 2021 can be found below: