Cleveland Clinic's evolution from a single hospital on Euclid Avenue, opened in 1921, to a global healthcare powerhouse has given it both the ability and responsibility to care for its communities in ways not possible 100 years ago.
"When we were founded, we were a single small hospital, so it was impossible to contribute to community at an integrated level," said Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, Cleveland Clinic president and CEO. "But now, with a large integrated healthcare system, we have a big responsibility."
As the largest employer in Ohio, the Clinic has a responsibility to maintain those jobs and ensure they are well-paid, family-sustaining jobs, which then contributes to the stability, health and wellness of communities, he said. The Clinic can help address community stability, racial disparities and other societal problems, which is what the system will focus on through the second century of its existence, Mihaljevic said.
The Clinic's model of care — group practice, physician-led, nonprofit — has not changed, said Dr. Toby Cosgrove, former president and CEO of the Clinic.
"I think (Cleveland Clinic) will be one of the continuing leaders in research, education and clinical care in the world, which it is now recognized generally as the number two hospital in the United States and around the world," Cosgrove said. "That's a pretty fine distinction."
Though the scale and reach of what is now an international, integrated healthcare system was unfathomable in 1921 when the Clinic opened its doors, the principles set out by its founders have been the backbone of its work in the century since. Cleveland Clinic is a "substantially different organization" than the one founded by Drs. Frank E. Bunts, George W. Crile Sr., William E. Lower and John Phillips, but the core tenets have remained.
"Our mission for many years — caring for the sick, researching their problems and educating those who serve — those basic tenets of patient care, research and education, continue to live with us to this day," Mihaljevic said.