Alan Nevel, who has served as MetroHealth's chief diversity and human resources officer since 2018, will become its first chief equity officer, a new position in which he will work with MetroHealth departments and initiatives to eliminate disparities and make equity a central principle of all the system does.
Dr. Charles Modlin has been named MetroHealth's first medical director of inclusion, diversity and equity. Modlin joins MetroHealth after more than three decades at the Cleveland Clinic, where he was executive director of minority health, according to the release, which noted that he launched the Clinic's annual Minority Men's Health Fair in 2003 to offer free health screenings and examinations to men from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. At MetroHealth, Modlin will assist Nevel and will maintain a urology practice.
The two new positions will help the system direct and expand its inclusion, diversity and equity efforts both within the system and the wider community, according to the release.
"When we focus on equity, we acknowledge that too many people in our community do not start on equal footing or that they face barriers created by decades of systemic racism or neglect," said Dr. Akram Boutros, MetroHealth president and CEO, in a provided statement. "Alan will lead the charge to eliminate those barriers in every corner of the system so that every patient and every employee can reach their full potential."
Last year under Nevel's leadership as chief diversity and human resources officer, MetroHealth launched an intensive self-examination to identify and root out unconscious bias in individual encounters and internal processes and policies, according to the release. All MetroHealth employees are on track to receive inclusion, diversity and equity training, and other efforts have encouraged conversations about race and diversity. Additionally, MetroHealth is asking patients to describe how they feel they've been treated by the system and will use that feedback to improve care delivery, according to the release.
"What we're faced with now is creating equity for all, and by all, I mean our patients, our employees and the greater community," Nevel said in a provided statement. "In whatever we do, we need to be doing it in an equitable fashion."
Modlin has spent decades tackling health disparities that disproportionately impact and burden minorities and the underserved, in his specialty fields of kidney transplant surgery and urology as well as in the broader medical world, according to the release. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine appointed Modlin in March 2020 to serve on the governor's COVID-19 Strike Force, where he chaired the Education, Communications and Outreach Subcommittee, according to the release.
His duties at MetroHealth will include recruiting a more diverse medical staff, building a more inclusive culture and reducing disparities in health outcomes. Boutros said in the release he has long admired Modlin's outreach to minority communities and that he brings enormous practical experience and important relationships to the system, both of which are essential to reducing health disparities.