Cleveland Clinic Akron General Announces Fundraising Effort to Help Reduce Health Disparities

Neighbor to Neighbor addresses infant mortality, COVID-19 testing and other issues

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Akron: Cleveland Clinic Akron General has launched a new fundraising effort – called Neighbor to Neighbor – to expand efforts to increase healthcare access for those affected by health disparities in Summit County.

“Great disparities in healthcare access exist here in our own backyard,” said Brian Harte, M.D., President of Akron General. “Many of our neighbors live without healthcare basics, like primary care and pregnancy wellness. Residents of Summit County and the City of Akron rank lower than Ohio and the U.S. on key health indicators and social determinants of health. We must increase our efforts to change this situation.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed disparities in healthcare access and outcomes for communities of color. While African Americans represent 15% of the population in Summit County, nearly 24% of individuals infected with COVID-19 are African American.

“Systemic racism is real and causes the disparate outcomes we see across healthcare including COVID-19,” said Dr. Harte. “Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Akron General are committed to promoting racial equity and ending racism that too often results in health disparities.”

Akron General is positioned to address health disparities identified in Akron and Summit County as urgent: infant mortality, chronic disease management and early treatment for cancer. The fundraising effort will provide money to support new initiatives and expand existing programs. During this philanthropic effort, funds raised will create or expand:

  • A COVID-19 testing site in downtown Akron at 676 South Broadway in partnership with United Way, along with outreach to African American residents.
  • Community health programs such as the Minority Men’s Health Fair and Centering Pregnancy.
  • Education of the next generation of family physicians with an emphasis on social determinants of health and retaining those physicians to serve in the heart of Akron.
  • Expanded wrap-around support for patients, such as frequent follow-up calls from social workers and nurses, at Akron General’s Center for Family Medicine.

“Tackling healthcare disparities is a community priority, and we are most effective when we are collaborating and leveraging each other’s strengths,” said Theresa Carter, past board president of the Akron General Medical Center.

As a nonprofit organization, Akron General relies on philanthropy as a crucial catalyst for programs that improve the lives of residents across Summit County. All contributions to Akron General stay local to make a local impact.

“Resources from Cleveland Clinic Akron General and collaborations with community organizations will underpin these efforts over the next three years,” said Mark Lerner, chair of the Akron General Medical Center Philanthropy Committee. “To fully realize the potential of this vision, we will also need philanthropic leaders in Summit County who share the belief that access to healthcare is a necessity and creates thriving families and communities.”

Contributions to can be made by visiting and choosing “Neighbor to Neighbor.”

About Cleveland Clinic Akron General
Cleveland Clinic Akron General is a nonprofit healthcare organization that has been improving the health and lives of the people and communities it serves since 1914. Akron General is the hub for Cleveland Clinic’s Southern Region and includes a 532-registered-bed teaching and research medical center in downtown Akron; Akron General Partners, which includes Partners Physician Group; three Health & Wellness Centers; Lodi Hospital; and Akron General Foundation. For more information, visit

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 66,000 employees are more than 4,200 salaried physicians and researchers and 16,600 nurses, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic’s health system includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 11 regional hospitals in northeast Ohio, more than 180 northern Ohio outpatient locations – including 18 full-service family health centers and three health and wellness centers – and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nev.; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2018, there were 7.9 million total outpatient visits, 238,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 220,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at Follow us at and News and resources available at

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