At the Heart of Cleveland's West Side with Dr. Boutros
On Friday, March 25th, we went to the City Club for a program titled "At the Heart of Cleveland's West Side" in which Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman (who will be resigning in a few days to become president of Global Cleveland) interviewed Dr. Akram Boutros, President and CEO of the MetroHealth System. Under the guidance of Councilman Cimperman's keen questioning, Dr. Boutros talked about quite a few things including his own background, current and future projects for MetroHealth, and his vision for the area around the MetroHealth complex near West 25th Street.
Regarding his becoming a doctor, Dr. Boutros (who immigrated to the United States from Egypt) said that he and his brothers were inspired by their mother's cousin who was both a doctor and a wonderful man. He did consider other professions like art and engineering as well as possibly permanently taking over the family jewelry business. But he is of the conviction that he found his purpose in life (along with acquiring his lovely wife and children) by becoming a doctor and heading MetroHealth. "It is truly my calling," he said.
Dr. Boutros seemed genuinely excited about the new MetroHealth facility in Brecksville (designed with tremendous patient input) which will focus on providing outpatient services in a relaxed, comfortable environment comparable to a hotel where the guests are treated to high quality services while the behind-the-scenes mechanics of running the operation are conducted very much behind-the-scenes.
In terms of the area around the MetroHealth complex on West 25th Street, Dr. Boutros said that he would love it if more people who work at MetroHealth would eventually move there. Overall, he envisions the surrounding area to be walkable and very diverse with all sorts of immigrant run small businesses and houses of worship. He believed that it would be great if it could capture the all-inclusive vibrancy of Greenwich Village and contended that this was ultimately achievable.
Speaking of diversity, Dr. Boutros had high praise for our friend, Ms. Mari Galindo-DaSilva for launching the Language Access and Communications Center which is the first of its kind in the nation. He also talked about programs promoting good health practices that are tailored to specific ethnic groups. For instance, because diabetes is so prominent in the Hispanic community, a program was started which promoted the preparation of Hispanic food in a healthy manner.
As we wrote earlier, Councilman Cimperman will be resigning soon from the Cleveland City Council to take over the reins at Global Cleveland. The person that he named as his successor, Mr. Kerry McCormack, who earned an excellent reputation while serving as Director of Community Affairs for Ohio City, Inc., was present so Mr. Dan Moulthrop, CEO of the City Club, asked him to stand and be recognized so that we would know who to call in the event of "potholes." By the way, the district that Mr. McCormack will be representing (if he is approved by the other members of the Cleveland City Council as we are sure that he will be) will include the City Club.
While we were enjoying our noontime meal, we sat with Ms. Barbara Hawkins, who we see quite often at Cleveland Council of World Affairs gatherings. Ms. Hawkins has been involved with Global Cleveland for years and she is very optimistic about its future with Mr. Joe Cimperman at the helm. Sharing our table was Mr. Robert Smith, Senior Manager of Public and Media Relations for the Cleveland Clinic, who used to work as a reporter for the "Plain Dealer" where he covered immigration matters. Needless to say, he talked to Ms. Margaret W. Wong quite a bit and he told us to be sure to tell her hello.
Let us mention that when we first arrived at the City Club that Friday, we talked to Mr. Wesley Allen, City Club Office Assistant who often fields our questions during the Q and A's to the various speakers. We learned on this day that Mr. Allen is also an actor who will is playing the lead in a play titled "Bootycandy" which will be running at the Liminis Theatre on Scranton Road until April 16th and we hope that we will be able to arrange our schedule so that we can see it.