City Hospital Nurses Basketball Team, 1927–1928.


The pessimist sees a world of endless suffering. The optimist sees the endless ways to relieve that suffering. The humanitarian sees both. And, with compassion, pragmatism, and creativity, finds a way to relieve that suffering and better the world.

From the moment it was christened City Hospital in 1837, MetroHealth has been this community's humanitarian.

For 185 years, it has responded to every health crisis—from cholera and TB to HIV, Ebola, opioid addiction, and COVID-19—with kindness, love, and hope. And, just as importantly, without judgment.

This history of MetroHealth preserves many of those humanitarian efforts. Many more have been lost forever, buried with those who achieved them, witnessed them, or benefited from them.

I am saddened to think of what is missing—the millions of acts of kindness performed by the people of this institution in its nearly 200 years. And I'm just as saddened that there is not room to include all that we know, all the good that has risen from this place, all the people who have made this institution what it is today. But I am also overwhelmed with gratitude for what they have accomplished, not just for the people of Greater Cleveland, but for the world of healthcare.

You'll meet some of them in the following pages and learn of their selflessness, their genius, their courage. This book tells the downside of the journey, too, because it is those struggles that have given this institution—one of the longest serving in the City of Cleveland—its resilience, its strength, and its fortitude. Without that, our story would not be nearly as beautiful.

And it is, as you're about to see, a beautiful story. One that could only be made possible with the work of tens of thousands of people over these past 185 years.

This book is a thank-you note to each of them. Whether remembered or forgotten, this is their story. More than that, it is the story of Cleveland, the story of humanitarians who have been, for decades, bettering the world.

Akram Boutrous
President and CEO, The MetroHealth System
Thank you Artwork


The Birth of
City Hospital