This Black doctor said she’s always been a trailblazer and in a hurry.
Dr. Airica Steed has been appointed as the new president and CEO of MetroHealth, making her the first female, first African American, and first nurse to lead the 8,000-employee organization worth over $1 billion.
According to Cleveland 19 News, Steed’s mission in health is inspired by the personal pain of losing loved ones and past experiences being at risk with preeclampsia in two of her own pregnancies.
“I’m fueled so much by the pain that I’ve experienced. My mother, my two grandmother’s and more recently my baby sister passed away as a byproduct of healthcare disparities,” Dr. Steed said.
“Regardless of their zip code, regardless of their gender, their race, regardless of their ability to pay and that was so powerful to me, and it allowed an opportunity to really make a difference in such a profound way in a different community. But, not just make a mark locally, I want to actually be the national model,” Steed said.
Dr. Steed is a fourth-generation nurse and has years of experience leading other organizations, including positions as the executive vice president and system chief operating officer for Sinai Chicago Health System and as president of Mount Sinai Children’s Hospital.
Under Steed’s leadership, the hospital has reportedly reduced hospital-acquired infections and mortality rates by 40% and has significantly improved patient appointments by providing transportation.
“I want to lift up clinical excellence in care excellence and experience excellence.”
Steed’s appointment is a replacement for Dr. Akram Boutros, who was fired from the organization’s Board of Trustees last year amid an investigation that alleged he authorized over $1.9 million in supplemental bonuses to himself without notifying the board.
“Dr. Steed’s capabilities, character and experience are a perfect match for the qualities we wanted in our next CEO,” said MetroHealth Board Chair Vanessa Whiting.
“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.”