MASS Design Group, a global design collective dedicated to delivering architecture that promotes justice and human dignity, has been engaged by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland to create a Health Campus that provides care for the whole person. In the Central Neighborhood, 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.
“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. “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.”
The Health Campus 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.
According to Robyn Gordon, chair of the oversight committee of the Health Campus and recent chair of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland: "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 wellbeing for people living in our community, and to create opportunities to support economic revitalization of this important and historical part of Cleveland.”
The planning and engagement phase will take place through December 2021. 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 will also connect with project partners, internal stakeholders, local businesses and anchor institutions, community leaders and more to identify opportunities to address the community-identified needs.
"We 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," says Susanna H. Krey, senior vice president, Sisters of Charity Health System and president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. "The expansion of the St. Vincent Charity main campus with partners beyond acute care can lead to a lifetime of improved community health outcomes."
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 Sister of Charity core values, 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 & CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
About MASS Design Group:
MASS, a Model of Architecture for Serving Society, was founded in 2008 as a non-profit organization motivated by an idea for a different way of practice. MASS grew to include many colleagues and contributors who worked together to design and build the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda, a project of Partners In Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health. Since then, the organization has grown to a team of 140 architects, landscape architects, engineers, builders, furniture designers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers representing 20 countries across the globe. MASS operates design labs including the Restorative Justice Design Lab in Boston; Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab in Sante Fe, N.M.; and the Food Systems and Fringe Cities Lab in Hudson Valley, N.Y.