CEO Update | Taking action on racism and health disparities

CEO Update | Taking action on racism and health disparities

Fellow Caregivers,

We are committed to ending long-standing structural racism that results in health disparities. Paying attention to racism and taking action as clinicians will guide our pursuit of true equality, justice and care for our patients, caregivers and community.

The City of Cleveland released an Emergency Resolution yesterday that declares racism a public health crisis. Cleveland Clinic supports this resolution and will be participating in a community working group. We will consider our own role in promoting change by serving as a trusted partner to the communities we serve and giving voice to our caregivers through a new series of forums.

This is an ongoing dialogue that will take place for years to come. Together, we will influence racial equity as an employer and leader in healthcare.

As a global organization, we care for communities around the world. Last month, 40 caregivers from Ohio and Florida traveled to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. They are helping our team during the surge of patients with COVID-19. I am so proud of their teamwork and selflessness. See photos.

The public trusts us to be a source of accurate information about COVID-19. I recently participated in these interviews:

  • Fox Business — to discuss convalescent plasma therapy, our efforts to guide other industries on safe reopening, and our pragmatic outlook on vaccine development. Watch the interview.
  • Milken Institute podcast — to explain the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals, caring for our own caregivers, and the exponential growth in telehealth. Listen to the podcast.

We invite others to the conversation through our Ideas for Tomorrow speaker series. Registration is now open for Kevin Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers star also known for his mental health advocacy, who joins us on June 16. You can still register for Katie Couric, journalist and founder, Katie Couric Media, on June 10.

In our recent Q&A video about COVID-19, I shared that healthcare workers have widely earned the respect they deserve. We have long known our caregivers to be heroes. Your kindness and compassion touches the heart and heals the soul.

Through our Hero Huddles, we learn of these stories every day. Our Hero of the Week is Jessica Herrington, a nurse on H70 at main campus, who cared for a patient struggling to survive with COVID-19.

Jessica navigated a complex ethics concern with the patient and his loved one using compassionate understanding. She spent time with him, holding his hand when his loved one could not be there, treating him like a family member. When he passed away, she comforted his family.

The emotional impact of caregiving is always with us. Thank you for supporting each other and our patients to endure and overcome.

Dr. Mijahlevic |  Cleveland Clinic

Tom Mihaljevic, MD
CEO and President

Update on June 3 alarm in Crile Building on main campus

Update on June 3 alarm in Crile Building on main campus

At 10:38 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3, an alarm to evacuate the Crile Building on main campus was triggered. In response to the alarm, caregivers responded immediately and admirably to safely evacuate patients. Shortly after the alarm sounded, the “all clear” was given after the Crile Building was deemed safe.

Members of our Facilities and Protective Services teams immediately investigated the source of the alarm. After reviewing all information, it was determined that the alarm was triggered by a system malfunction while performing maintenance that required remote testing of the Crile Building’s smoke detectors and water flow devices. We continue to investigate the events and data leading up to and during the alarm, and how to ensure events like this do not happen in the future.

We thank all caregivers in the Crile Building for their swift action to ensure the safety of our patients – and each other – during the evacuation.

Interfaith Nursing Week Essays discuss courage, fear and devotion

Interfaith Nursing Week Essays discuss courage, fear and devotion

Every year our Interfaith Employee Resource essay committee is honored and humbled by the experiences that caregivers choose to share through the Interfaith Nursing Week Essay Contest. This year was no exception.

Nurses were asked to reflect on the impact and meaning of the Nightingale pledge (recited during their pinning ceremony) and share how this has supported them during recent challenging times.

“Many of us were brought to tears by the stories of resilience, strength, hope and encouragement,” says Diana Gueits, Director, Diversity and Inclusion. “It is our capacity to love, to care for, to have compassion, and to demonstrate empathy that defines our humanity and will define how we emerge from some of our most difficult challenges.”

Congratulations to the following winners:

1st Place

Colleen Mihelich, RN, main campus

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly… I think of the other times in my life when I have made a promise before God: my confirmation, my wedding, the baptism of my children. A promise before God is not something I take lightly, and my promise at my pinning ceremony was no different.

My faith has brought me much joy and has sustained me through many times of personal grief. I never could have imagined that a time such as this pandemic would have come but I am thankful that I have my personal faith to rely upon to be my strength when the rest of the world seems so uncertain.

Each day when I am preparing for work, I arm myself with the necessary tools of the trade. I’ve got my saline syringes, my stethoscope, my tape. What they don’t see, tucked away in my pocket, are the tools I use when it’s just me and God, alone in the break room or my car, my rosary and my little bottle of holy water. Because every nurse knows that sometimes there are those moments and those patients that just take your breath away, and you need a moment. In the time of COVID-19 those moments have seemed to come more frequently.

It doesn’t matter what my patient’s beliefs are, I love every person I am privileged to care for. When I am able to center myself with God I am better prepared to care for my patient and to fulfill my pledge…With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and as a ‘missioner of health’ I will dedicate myself to devoted service to human welfare.

Second Place

Mikayla Hubley, RN, main campus

When I took the Nightingale Pledge three years ago, wholeheartedly embracing being a ‘missioner of health’, I never imagined serving during a pandemic. The current pandemic has changed the state of our world in countless and unimaginable ways; daily practices, human relationships, the economy, the environment, and the focus of our healthcare. Hospitals are now channeling all their resources into caring for those who have fallen ill to COVID-19 and in finding a cure. These changes I readily adapted to, but one change I did not anticipate was feeling afraid to go to work and do the job that normally fulfills me. Fear grew slowly as the impact of the coronavirus became more alarmingly evident.

Courage can come from many different sources. For me it’s my faith in God. Witnessing the incredible courage in the oncology patients I care for, and especially now as they endure even more isolation and loneliness while holding onto the hope of life, reminded me to lean on God for strength and courage even more so now. With faith, I am able to shift from an inward focus of fear for my own health into a renewed outward focus on the needs of those who are suffering. I believe God cares deeply about our physical well-being, and I am called to love and serve others in doing the same. The Nightingale Pledge calls for dedication. Each statement drips with devotion to the practice of nursing and ensuring that others are cared for well. During a time where there is fear to even step outside, my devotion to practicing nursing and doing it well, as well as my belief in loving and serving others through my vocation, allow me to overcome my fear and walk into work each morning ready to serve.

Third Place

Lynne Timko, RN, South Pointe Hospital


“I am so scared”, but I am a Nurse. “I am so afraid”, but I am a Nurse. I tell myself, I must uphold my Nightingale Pledge that I made 40 years ago, in front of my LORD, and my family.

My pinning ceremony in 1980, was at a church in Rocky River, Ohio. And as I got my pin, I reflected on how my LORD would help me take care of my patients. Now 40 years later, working as a nurse at South Pointe Hospital, I was now called to fight an enemy, called COVID-19.

No longer a bedside nurse, my career was now in diabetes education in the outpatient setting as a Diabetes Educator Nurse. And when I was told that I could be deployed back to bedside nursing, my first thought was, “Oh my Lord.” I can’t do this, I am too old. I am too tired, and my body is aching. I can’t physically go back to bedside nursing.

I have one year left until retirement, “Why me lord?” I can’t possibly be a bedside nurse again. I am so scared to fight this enemy. I want to see my one and only daughter get married in July. I need to take care of my 90-year-old mom, who has dementia. I need to enjoy my retirement with my awesome husband. This can’t be happening. But then, I prayed, and my LORD said. “Why not you?” You pledged to me all those years ago, to help and comfort the sick. And he said,” Don’t worry I will be by your side.” And I said,” I am scared LORD, and he said, “I will never leave you.” And I said, I am still afraid. And he said,” Go and help the sick. I am with you always .”

Use only Contact/Droplet + Eyewear isolation for patients with COVID-19 or PUIs

Use only Contact/Droplet + Eyewear isolation for patients with COVID-19 or PUIs

As we transition to normal operations, Infection Prevention is moving to one isolation category, Contact/Droplet + Eyewear, for COVID-19 positive patients or Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19.

Effective immediately at Ohio and Florida locations, caregivers working with patients who have COVID-19 or those who are Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 will only use Contact/Droplet + Eyewear isolation. Caregivers will no longer need to change signage once a patient is confirmed to have COVID-19.

When using Contact/Droplet + Eyewear isolation, our existing PPE recommendations and care considerations for COVID-19 stay the same.

View details about this policy update here, or find them under the “Protecting Against the Spread of COVID-19” or “Nursing Resources” tabs in the COVID-19 toolkit.

Access Contact/Droplet + Eyewear isolation signage here, or under the “Protecting Against the Spread of COVID-19” tab in the COVID-19 toolkit.

Questions? Contact your local infection preventionist.