Our Stories

Learn more about the ways Government & Community Relations’ programs and initiatives are impacting lives in Northeast Ohio.

Adventures in Health Science and Medicine℠ (AHSM℠)

Jonnie Wilson Middle School
Warrensville Heights

Cleveland Clinic's Civic Education Department wrapped up this year's Adventures in Health Science and Medicine℠ (AHSM℠) connected learning program with the online Innovation Challenge. Putting their creativity to the test, the students participating in this year’s AHSM℠ program battled it out as two middle schools triumphed with the best innovation.

The Innovation Challenge encourages students to develop an innovative product in response to a real-life health issue affecting millions of adolescents each year. The students then present their innovations to their peers in an online webinar.

This year, AHSM℠ Innovator teams from Warrensville Heights Middle School, General Johnnie Wilson Middle School, LaMuth Middle School, Strongsville Middle School and St. Mary School Chardon participated as both presenters and judges, using a rubric to score their peers’ presentations on originality, innovative thinking, and feasibility.

The students voted for their favorite innovations using an online poll, and two winners emerged with the highest scores. Warrensville Heights Middle School and General Johnnie Wilson Middle School edged out the competition to win this year's AHSM℠ Innovation Challenge.

The Adventures in Health Science and Medicine℠ program is a series of Connected Learning experiences designed to promote learning about health science and medical professions for middle school students. The program will be offered again in spring, 2018.

The program will be offered again in spring, 2018.

Akron General Caregivers Bring “Little Free Libraries” to Six Local Schools

Akrong General Library Volunteers

Cleveland Clinic Akron General caregivers recently installed “Little Free Libraries” at six Akron Public Elementary Schools:  Crouse Elementary, Robinson Elementary, Forest Hill Elementary, Findley Elementary, Glover Elementary and Portage Path Elementary. These Little Free Libraries will give children access to books they can borrow, read and return.

Akron General caregivers built and painted all of the libraries and donated all of the books. Caregivers are also donating books to Family Promise of Summit County and the Battered Women's Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties.

Community Service at Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Greater Cleveland Food Bank

More than 50 Cleveland Clinic caregivers gathered at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for the annual December Enterprise Service Day under the direction of the Community Relations Department. Food insecurity is a significant problem throughout Northeast Ohio and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, with the help of caregivers from Cleveland Clinic, is working constantly to address this challenge.

Highlights included filling hundreds of backpacks with nutritious food items for children who receive meals at local schools but don't have that lifeline during the weekends, as well as cooking hot meals for distribution at area food pantries as well as to seniors and shut-ins throughout Cuyahoga and surrounding counties.

Cleveland Clinic's Harvest for Hunger Campaign

Through the generosity of caregivers throughout the Enterprise, Cleveland Clinic’s 2016 Harvest for Hunger campaign raised $29,536 and 3,033 pounds of food, providing nutritious meals for our neighbors in need throughout Northeast Ohio.

Clinic-Based Programs (Internships)

Isabel Wang

Cleveland Clinic’s summer intern Isabel Wang was recently accepted into Stanford University’s class of 2021. Isabel’s research project, “Galvanizing ‘Grieveland’: Combating Cleveland's Violence Epidemic with Safety Awareness Education from a Public Health Perspective,” focused on  the impact that Cleveland Clinic’s “Safe and Healthy Communities” programs have on youth in the underprivileged communities surrounding the hospital’s main campus.

These outreach programs engage the public in a discussion about the way violence impacts the mental, physical and social/emotional health of all community members, and teach youth to view violence as a contagion which must be prevented before it occurs instead of subsequently correcting it.

According to Isabel, the Summer Internship Program, “…is a transformative experience. I loved every second of it, and I feel that it was the perfect summer experience for someone like me, on the verge of choosing a college and major. I went into it knowing that I loved working with people and helping others, but I came out of it with the knowledge of how to pursue my interests and continue to better the world. I now love the idea of working on public health outreach, and I know that I will use the skills that my mentors taught me of entrepreneurism, management and healthcare in my future career.”

“I worked with a team that introduced me to amazing opportunities that I could not receive elsewhere. I met with Cleveland Clinic executives, sat in on City Council meetings, and worked on a public health outreach research project. I was able to take this passion for helping the community - influenced strongly by my mentors - and develop programs within my own school for tackling the achievement gap and generating discussions on societal issues.”

For more information on the Clinic-Based Programs, please visit

Coffee with the Cops

Coffee with Cops

Established by Cleveland Clinic’s Protective Services Department and Government & Community Relations, and supported by various community partners, Coffee with the Cops brings police officers and the residents they serve together over coffee to discuss issues, share concerns and craft solutions in a casual setting. The program creates a partnership through open lines of communication and cooperation, which serves to support dialog, identify opportunities and develop strategies to enhance the health and quality of life for residents. The Safety Team is thrilled to report on the success of the Coffee with the Cops initiative.

Eighteen Coffee with the Cops events were held in 2016, reaching new cities and building new relationships with 15 community partners, including Cleveland Clinic’s American Heart Association Authorized Training Center. The program was supported by 11 council members from the City of Cleveland, 8 local government agencies, and 4 of Cleveland Clinic’s Regional Hospitals.

Over the course of the year, 901 community members participated in Coffee with the Cops. For 276 of those participants the program was their first introduction to Government & Community Relations’ Community Outreach programming (specifically programming offered through the Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center). Sixty-one officers (41 of which were new to the program,) participated from 15 different local police departments.

Click here for more information on the Coffee with the Cops program.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MPH, Visited Cleveland Clinic

Surgeon General

On July 12, 2016, Vivek Murthy, MD, MPH, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, visited Cleveland Clinic as part of the Turn the Tide Rx campaign. While at the Clinic, Dr. Murthy presented Grand Rounds and convened a round table discussion on the opioid crisis.  The stop in Cleveland was his 9th stop in a nationwide tour to address the crisis of prescription opioid addiction.

Government & Community Relations was honored to host the surgeon general and pleased that an issue of critical importance to Northeast Ohio received such attention.  Opioid abuse continues to be a focus for the department, and our efforts align with the campaign Dr. Murthy discussed.

Turn the Tide Rx is a national campaign based on the concept of "prescribers talking to prescribers." It aims to educate prescribers about the opioid epidemic, and mobilize them to change the cultural perceptions of addiction, so that it is not seen as a moral failing, but as a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency and compassion. While in Cleveland, Dr. Murthy discussed appropriate opioid prescribing practices, as well as use of naloxone as a rescue medication.

The Grand Rounds attracted more than 200 participants from not only Cleveland Clinic, but providers and agencies throughout Greater Cleveland.  Dr. Adrienne Boissy, Cleveland Clinic Chief Patient Experience Officer, joined panelists from the Ohio State Medical Board and a Cleveland Clinic patient in recovery to discuss how providers can help to disrupt the crisis of prescription and street opioid addiction in Ohio and across the country.

Former Vice President Biden Visited Cleveland Clinic’s Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden visited Cleveland Clinic Langston Hughes Community Health & Education Center on June 28, 2016 for an invitation-only event to meet and speak with members of the Fairfax neighborhood. 

Working together with Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCC) partners, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and University Hospitals (UH), the Clinic's months-long efforts to encourage the Obama administration to include prevention and community outreach as part of its Cancer Moonshot initiative culminated in two significant engagements with Vice President Joe Biden.  First, in late June, Dr. Cosgrove participated in the national cancer moonshot summit hosted by Vice President Biden in Washington, DC, joining other clinical leaders and stakeholders committed to working towards a cure for cancer. And second, the next day Brian Bolwell, MD, Chairman of the Taussig Cancer Institute, and the CCCC partners welcomed the vice president to the Cleveland Clinic Langston Hughes Community Health and Education Center where he gave his first speech of the moonshot initiative highlighting the importance of community outreach relative to cancer screening and prevention. Most importantly, the Cleveland event with Vice President Biden was a recognition of the collaboration between the Clinic, CWRU, and UH in the name of cancer research and prevention.

The former vice president's visit was a particular honor for Cleveland Clinic and the Langston Hughes facility, as it recognizes the importance of prevention as well as early detection and intervention in successful cancer outcomes as championed by Cleveland Clinic.  Langston Hughes provides wellness programming, as well as health screenings (including mammography) for residents in the Fairfax neighborhood.  Being embedded within a traditionally underserved community helps break down access issues, and addresses the health needs of a population unduly burdened with health inequities.

Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Day

Habitat For Humanity

In July, 2016, Habitat for Humanity volunteers and more than 45 Cleveland Clinic caregivers painted, planted, cut, cleaned and mulched flowerbeds for residents on East 87th Street in Cleveland. Thanks to the great work of our caregivers and the Habitat staff, 15 homes received attention and were significantly improved.

Power Washers™

Sally Salmonella

The influenza virus was striking schools across the country during flu season last year, forcing several to close their doors. Here in Northeast Ohio, teachers called on a band of hygiene superheroes to help keep their students healthy.

“Power Washers™helped my students understand the importance of hand washing,” says Anita Giusto, a third grade teacher at Andrew J. Rickoff School in Cleveland “and they made the learning fun.”

Water Woman, Super Soap, and Touchy Towel – the hygiene superheroes known collectively as Power Washers™ – were developed for Cleveland Clinic’s Civic Education Department by 2008 Creative Learning Intern and Beachwood High School student Gabriel Firestone. The characters star in a series of online educational resources, including a Webby Award-winning music video in which the heroes battle the likes of Evil E. Coli, Mr. Mycosis, and Sally Salmonella, and a video game in which they help players virtually wash their hands.

“The children loved playing the Power Washers™ game,” says Giusto. “They especially loved moving the magnifying glass over the hands to see the germs and to hear the characters say, ‘EEEEEWWWWWW!!!!’”

Giusto’s third graders applied what they learned from both the game and video and put their creativity to the test, developing acrostic poems about the Power Washers™ team. For Water Women, students came up with creative phrases such as We like to be clean; Eat hot dogs, but before you eat, wash your hands; and N o more germs! The students produced some great poems, and according to Giusto, “They loved describing a character through the letters of his or her name.”

Karen Straub, art teacher at Gesu Catholic School in University Heights, also enlisted the help of the Power Washers™, calling on the germ-fighting trio to assist in teaching her students in pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade about the importance of hand washing.

“The Power Washers™ program engages students right from the start of the video,” Straub says, adding, “The bios and the game help enforce the concept of hand cleanliness.”

In the art room, Straub’s students brought the hygiene superheroes to life by creating their very own Power Washers™ puppets. “Students based their puppets on one character,” Straub says, “and were then able to use their puppets to say the lines as the video played.”

Water Woman, Super Soap, and Touchy Towel may have their own theme song and video game, but they aren’t the only heroes when it comes to promoting hand hygiene this flu season. Teachers like Giusto and Straub are finding fun, creative ways to help keep their students healthy and their classrooms open. And that is nothing short of super.

Stroke 101

Matilda Wentz and Family

Matilda Wentz is a lucky woman. Her grandson is a lifesaver. Her lifesaver. While Matilda was making breakfast for her grandson Sean, 14, he noticed that something was off with his grandmother. She was calling things the wrong names and getting stuck on words.

Sean remembered the Stroke 101 program at Claggett Middle School in Medina, presented by Cleveland Clinic Community Relations. This program educates middle school students to recognize the signs of a stroke and encourages rapid care to achieve the best outcome. Matilda had no telltale signs, but her grandson noticed what clinicians call “expressive aphasia.”

Although Matilda said she was fine, as did another adult in the house, Sean insisted that something was wrong. Matilda was taken to the Medina Hospital Emergency Department where clinicians determined she was having a stroke. The ED physicians said that the symptoms were so slight, it was amazing that an untrained person could identify them. Following treatment and rehab, Matilda is doing very well, thanks in part to her grandson’s attentiveness and persistence.

Click here for more information on the Stroke 101 program.

Worldwide Classroom®

Worldwide Classroom

The Worldwide Classroom® connected learning program kicked off in September, 2016, and Houry Gebeshian, a physician assistant from Fairview Hospital, was one of our featured caregivers.  Houry was a gymnast in this past summer's Rio Olympics.  Civic Education was thrilled that her energetic presentation aligned to the program’s new, research-based emphasis on engaging middle and high school students through stories they will find relevant, humorous, gross, inspiring, shocking, or even a little weird.

Houry engaged more than 250 students from 11 schools during her hour-long session, sharing her Rio experience and how her desire to be an Olympian shaped her journey in becoming a physician assistant.  She also lead the students through an activity on how to tie a surgical knot using her tennis shoe, and showed a clip showing how she uses the surgical knot to stitch up after a C-section.  The most fascinating aspect of the connected learning session came during her Q & A with the students.  Every single question the students asked was focused on her responsibilities as a physician assistant – not a single question was about the Olympics.

Houry's presentation also leveraged the program's new online polling system. At the beginning and end of each Worldwide Classroom® session, students answer three quick questions on their smartphones, providing a snapshot of their pre- and post-session understanding of the featured topic or career. In the case of Houry's presentation, 76% of students answered the post-session questions about the physician assistant profession correctly, compared to only 34% of the students answering correctly beforehand.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The City of Cleveland’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2010 to 2050, and Cleveland Clinic’s Office for a Healthy Environment has helped develop the 33 actions outlined to achieve this goal.

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Government & Community Relations

In Government & Community Relations we believe the health of our community is not determined solely on physical well-being, but on all the factors that go into the experience of living, working, and thriving in Northeast Ohio.

Caregiver Finds Support

An instructor in Cleveland Clinic’s CPR department, John Lindsey and his team interact with tens of thousands of clinicians annually. It’s a rewarding job — and sometimes also challenging. Like Lindsey, we can all use a little help from time to time.

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