MetroHealth CEO, Airica Steed and hospital staff cut the ribbon to unveil the new birthing center and NICU last Thursday.
MetroHealth CEO, Airica Steed and hospital staff cut the ribbon to unveil the new birthing center and NICU last Thursday. Credit: MetroHealth System

MetroHealth System’s newly renovated birthing center and neonatal unit officially opens to patients Wednesday.

The hospital previewed the birthing center last Thursday at a “Sip and See” event for expectant parents and community members as part of the ongoing $1 billion transformation of its main campus medical center in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood.

Located in the new 11-story Glick Center hospital, the maternity ward includes: 

  • 10 labor and delivery rooms with big windows, large showers and patient-controlled mood lighting 
  • 37 neonatal intensive care unit rooms 
  • 27 private patient rooms for post-partum care, including pullout beds for overnight guests
  • Dedicated space in every room for newborn care
  • Advanced wireless newborn monitoring system
  • Labor and delivery rooms in the same unit as post-partum rooms, limiting a baby’s movement within the hospital 

“MetroHealth’s comprehensive obstetrical program is among the largest, most respected in the region,” Dr. Jennifer Bailit, who is chief medical officer of inpatient services, said in a press statement. “Our beautiful new state-of-the-art birthing center is a reflection of the high-quality care that will take place there.” 

The opening of the center is also part of MetroHealth CEO Airica Steed’s core priorities to eliminate health disparities in the city and provide quality health care services for patients. One major health equity issue Steed aims to address is infant mortality in the county. 

In Cuyahoga County, the Board of Health recorded its lowest infant mortality rate in 30 years in 2020. The number of babies who died before their first birthday last year dropped to 7.65 per 1,000 live births. 

Over the last five years, white infant mortality has plummeted 39%, while Black infant mortality has fallen only 19%, according to First Year Cleveland, a nonprofit that collects data on infant mortality rates in Cuyahoga County. 

“Our patients and this community deserve nothing less than the best care, and our exceptional caregivers are committed to delivering it,” Steed said in a statement. “Our new Birthing Center and NICU are making a statement: Quality medical care is for everyone.”

Health Reporter (she/her)
Candice, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a freelance writer whose reporting and digital media work have appeared in The Daily Beast, VICE, Cleveland Magazine and elsewhere. She has written about health, equity and social justice.