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MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros will retire at the end of 2022

Dr. Akram Boutros, who joined MetroHealth in 2013, will retire at the end of 2022. [Tony Dejak / AP]
Tony Dejak
Dr. Boutros declined an interview to discuss his departure from MetroHealth, but stated in a news release the timing is right for him to step down.

Dr. Akram Boutros, chief executive of MetroHealth System, has announced he is retiring at the end of 2022.

Dr. Boutros declined an interview to discuss his departure from MetroHealth, but stated in a news release the timing is right for him to step down.

“I fell in love with MetroHealth the first time I visited, and it has been the privilege of a lifetime to be its CEO,” Boutros said in the release.

He joined the health system in 2013 and over the past eight years, he was seen as a leader, not only in the healthcare system but in the Cleveland community.

Boutros has overseen a major transformation of the hospital's main campus on W. 25th Street in Cleveland. The hospital system is renovating its 52-acre campus in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. The new campus will include the Glick Center, a new 11-floor main hospital building and will have a direct link to the Cleveland Metroparks portion of the Towpath Trail.

The Glick Center construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022, while Boutros is still on the job.

Boutros also has led the hospital's initiatives focusing on health equity in surrounding neighborhoods. Earlier this year, the system began $60 million worth of development that includes affordable rental units and a job training center on Cleveland's West Side.

The housing units are part of the hospital system's plans to address what’s known as the social determinants of health, or the factors outside of hospitals and doctor's offices that can impact a person’s health, like housing, careers and where people live.

"Dr. Boutros has been a great partner for me and the County,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish in a statement.  

“Under his leadership, Metro is stronger than ever; it is undergoing a significant renovation project; during the pandemic, Metro has responded to the urgent needs of underserved people to obtain testing and vaccinations; and, Dr. Boutros has been a leader in public and behavioral health, chairing the Board of the County’s Diversion Center,” the statement reads.

MetroHealth was also the first health system in Northeast Ohio to mandate vaccinations for all its staff during the pandemic. Officials  announced back in August they would require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or request an exemption. ​The requirement applies to all employees, including those who work remotely. The policy also includes vendors, contracted workers, volunteers, students and trainees. 

Dr. Cliff Megerian, CEO of University Hospitals, called Boutros a "visionary" leader and highlighted collaborations between the health systems.

"He has not only been a transformational leader for MetroHealth, but for our entire community as it relates to passionately promoting and actually moving the needle on public health," he said in a statement. "His focus on narrowing the health care disparity gap, while bending the curve on social determinants of health, should serve as the North Star for health care leaders across this nation, including us here at UH."

The MetroHealth Board of Trustees is planning to retain an executive search firm to conduct a nationwide search for a new CEO.

Marlene Harris-Taylor
Marlene is the director of engaged journalism at Ideastream Public Media.