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MetroHealth names Dr. Airica Steed new CEO

Subject Dr. Airica Steed of Sinai Chicago Hospital System
MetroHealth named Dr. Airica Steed to be its next president and chief executive officer. She will succeed Dr. Akram Boutros, who will retired at the end of 2022. Steed will assume the position on January 1.

MetroHealth has named Dr. Airica Steed as its new CEO, the hospital system announced Thursday.

Steed is currently the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Sinai Chicago Health System and President of Mount Sinai and Sinai Children’s Hospital, according to a hospital media release.

Sinai, like MetroHealth, focuses on health equity and eradicating healthcare disparities, the hospital wrote.

That made Steed a perfect match for MetroHealth, said MetroHealth Board Chair Vanessa Whiting, who is president of A.E.S. Management Corp.

“She comes from a major safety-net healthcare system that shares a similar focus to that of MetroHealth: improving the health of the community in an urban, academic setting. Airica has been successful in improving quality of care, patient satisfaction, operating results, and health equity. She also has a deep history as an innovator and as a community collaborator who builds strong relationships among partners, both of which will continue to be important to our success.”

At Sinai, Steed led a turnaround strategy that aimed to achieve $75 million in margin improvements, according to an article in Modern Healthcare.

Steed told Modern Healthcare she was the first minority executive to hold her position at Sinai, where she made diversity and inclusion a priority agenda item in every meeting and worked to eradicate health care disparities that plague Black and brown communities.

"For us we're actually trying to live our actions and really try to put it into local terms and really deliver on the health equity promise," she said.

At a news conference Thursday, Dr. Steed said she was aware of Cleveland’s current challenges with health care staffing and some hospitals closing services.

“On the wake of the pandemic, I think that there is a level of fatigue, burnout and exhaustion in this particular health delivery space that truly needs to be considered," she said.

MetroHealth's outgoing CEO, Akram Boutros announced last year that he would retire at the end of 2022.

He joined the health system in 2013 and oversaw a major transformation of the hospital's main campus on West 25th Street in Cleveland. The hospital system has made major changes to its 52-acre campus in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, including the construction of the Glick Center, a new 11-floor main hospital building.

Steed told Modern Healthcare that a characteristic of good leadership is opening the doors for others.

"The best leaders are those that surround themselves by strong leaders and the accomplishments of others become your accomplishments," she said.

Stephanie is the digital producer/editor of Ideastream Public Media’s health team.
Taylor Wizner is a reporter/producer with Ideastream Public Media's health team.