The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland engaged MASS Design Group to create a health campus in the Central neighborhood of Cleveland that will provide care for the whole person. The health campus will build on the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine’s 170-year legacy of healing by bringing new services to the community that address the social determinants of health.
It will encompass property owned by the Sisters of Charity at East 22nd Street (also known as Sister Ignatia Way) and serve as a catalyst for revitalization in the surrounding area. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center will be an anchor institution, partner and namesake in what will be known as the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus. Depending on what is recommended during the planning and engagement process, new services, programs and partners will be added to the existing services at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s main campus.
“The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine have always partnered with many to serve Cleveland through a devotion to healing – spiritually, physically, socially and emotionally. I am proud of our sisters’ courage to reevaluate and transform St. Vincent Charity from a traditional acute care facility into a broader health campus. This bold vision reconnects us to our roots and is an innovative step to advance our mission to provide a holistic and integrated model of care,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.
The planning and engagement phase will take place through December. MASS Design Group will conduct research and dialogue with residents and institutions of Central neighborhood and Greater Cleveland to understand directly from the community what social and economic needs should be addressed by the health campus, such as poverty, structural racism, and mental health and addiction services, which would build on the sisters’ legacy of behavioral health services. MASS Design Group and the Sisters of Charity team also will connect with project partners, internal stakeholders, local businesses and anchor institutions, community leaders and more to identify opportunities to address the community-identified needs.
“I enthusiastically applaud and support Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, and the entire leadership team of the Sisters of Charity Health System for their visionary decision to create a bold, new and transformative health campus in downtown Cleveland with St. Vincent Charity Medical Center as its anchor. This new and innovative project will take a holistic approach in responding to health care needs of our entire community in a very broad sense. It is clearly reflective of the Sisters of Charity’s unwavering commitment to the people of Northeast Ohio and the witness they give to the compassion of Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Edward Malesic.
This transformation to the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus will add greatly to the already deep legacy of caring and compassion provided by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine for so many years to those most in need, the bishop said. “We are deeply blessed for their presence and continued good works in our diocese. May God bless this endeavor and those who bring it to fruition,” he added.
“We work from the philosophy that our built environment should be designed to advance human dignity and promote health,” said Michael Murphy, founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group, a global design collective dedicated to delivering architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. “The health campus is an opportunity for the Cleveland community to bring this philosophy to life, and create true health equity through justice and empathy.”
Susanna H. Krey, senior vice president of the Sisters of Charity Health System and president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, said they are “thrilled to collaborate with MASS Design Group to advance health and healing through a whole-person approach for the Cleveland community and especially Central neighborhood, which is home to five Sisters of Charity ministries. The expansion of the St. Vincent Charity main campus with partners beyond acute care can lead to a lifetime of improved community health outcomes.”
According to the principals, thoughtful inclusion of residents with lived experience is critical to anchoring as well as developing the vision for the initiative. Additionally, the design and the design process will recognize core values of the Sisters of Charity, serving the community with the broadest definition of health, including addressing social determinants, poverty and racial segregation, and upward mobility.
“Since 1851, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine have continuously evolved their healing ministry to adapt to the changing needs of the community, and this is just one more expression of their healing mission. In light of the challenges created by COVID-19, this approach is even more needed,” said Janice Murphy, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
Robyn Gordon, chair of the oversight committee of the health campus and recent chair of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, said MASS Design Group is noted globally for leading design innovations in health care facilities with an emphasis on healing and justice. “The goal of the health campus is to help remove barriers to health and well-being for people living in our community, and to create opportunities to support economic revitalization of this important and historical part of Cleveland,” she added.