As the new president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, Janice G. Murphy is focused on upholding the mission of the Cleveland-based organization and each of its 12 ministries.
Since 2019, Murphy has served as President and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, which is part of the Health System Ministries, which also includes two senior care facilities, three grant-making foundations and six community outreach organizations. in northeastern Ohio and South Carolina.
She succeeds Thomas J. Strauss, who resigned at the end of 2021 after a five-year term. Dr. Adnan Tahir — former senior vice president and clinical and administrative director at St. Vincent — is now president of St. Vincent Charity, which became the system’s only hospital after Mercy Medical Center in Canton joined the Cleveland Clinic as a full member during Strauss’ tenure. It maintains its Catholic identity thanks to the sponsorship of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine.
Tahir and Murphy both have their eyes on more changes to come: a new health campus in Cleveland’s Midtown and anchored by St. Vincent Charity.
The campus, announced last summer and currently in the research and discovery phase, aims to expand the footprint of what was once exclusively an acute care hospital into a larger campus designed to promote holistic wellness, remedy health disparities, provide services beyond health care, and increase opportunities for economic development and revitalization.
Through all the changes of the past few years and to come, the core mission of the system has continued — and will continue to do so, Murphy said.
“I think one thing the sisters have always been clear about is that they are dedicated to the healing ministry of Christ and to the dignity of every person, wherever they serve them, that it is in hospitals, schools, taking care of children, managing the homeless, bringing food to those who are hungry,” she said.
The Health Campus aims to create a physical environment that promotes healing and justice and focuses on providing care for the whole person – spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally.
The campus, which will ultimately be a nonprofit within the health care system, will seek to partner with organizations to provide services, programs, and economic opportunities on campus. Its development is a collaboration between the Sisters of Charity Health System, the Cleveland Sisters of Charity Foundation, St. Vincent’s Charity Medical Center, and the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.
Sue Krey, president of the Sisters of Charity of Cleveland Foundation, said the leaders share a vision for campus health.
“I think there’s a great continuity in leadership,” said Krey, who also serves as senior vice president of external affairs, foundations and outreach ministries for the health system. “I think Dr. Tahir recognizes how important health care delivery is to always keep the community and the needs of the community in mind. Jan also recognizes this with his deep understanding of the mission and the legacy. So I think there’s really a great synergy in that vision around campus health and what it could mean for Cleveland and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center as it continues its great legacy of service to this community.
Last summer, Sisters of Charity engaged the Boston-based MASS Design Group, which has since helped create the campus community vision through a process of research and engagement to understand how to be the best neighbor, has said Chris Kroner, director of MASS. Design, a global design collective.
Through hundreds of meetings, community engagement opportunities and more, Kroner said the team is working to identify how a health campus can leverage space to “try to help create scaffolding for things like food, security, recreation and outdoor spaces, housing opportunities, educational opportunities, and even transportation opportunities.
It’s not just about creating a place people come to, but creating a place people will trust and want to use frequently, he said.
“And that’s not necessarily the typical hospital model, right now, or even a clinic model,” Kroner said. “You tend to end up in these places when you need to. And we’re trying to make this health campus much more of an extension of your lifestyle and the way you live.”
The campus will involve partnerships, will use current space and, to date, no new construction has been defined. It’s “an incredibly dynamic project,” which won’t consist of a single groundbreaking ceremony or a single switch, Tahir said, noting that St. Vincent Charity is already part of the campus.
Research, discovery and development of potential ideas will continue throughout the spring. Once this phase is complete, the Sisters of Charity plan to begin identifying partners and funding to implement the campus.
The information MASS Design has collected so far has been valuable, Tahir said, and aligns well with St. Vincent Charity and health system goals for health care delivery.
Now that the latest outbreak of COVID-19 that marked the start of his tenure has subsided, Tahir is focused on continuing to stabilize operations over the next two months, managing the impacts of widespread staff shortages. healthcare and collaborating with Krey, Murphy, Kroner and others on campus healthcare.
Murphy’s goals also include health campus planning, managing the transition since the last COVID-19 surge, and creating an environment where caregivers can and want to do their best in all system ministries.
She also highlighted a commitment to the ethical and religious guidelines that guide the Catholic organization as well as a commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, work she credits Strauss for beginning in recent years.
“We want to make sure that we are respectful and welcoming, but understand what an inclusive organization we are,” she said, noting that this is done on many fronts, from hiring to selecting suppliers in through the structure of the board of directors.
During Strauss’ five-year tenure, he helped strengthen the financial position of the system and its ministries by reducing debt and increasing financial assets through strategic investments, according to the system. Also under his leadership, several departments have seen major improvements to their facilities, in addition to an expanded geographic footprint and improved or expanded services.
Strauss also helped cultivate the next generation of new leaders throughout the system.
“Our next generation of leaders is certainly aligned with our culture and values, and will continue to serve well as Jan drives the healthcare system forward,” he wrote in an emailed response to questions.
Tahir is “a great leader for St. Vincent Charity” and Murphy is “the perfect leader for this time within the Sisters of Charity health system,” he wrote, adding that she is “a great leader measured and faithful servant”.
Prior to leading the Sisters of Charity, Strauss served as President and CEO of Summa Health System for 15 years. Upon his retirement from the Akron-based health system, he co-founded the CEO Advisory Network with six colleagues who have led health systems across the country. He took time off from that job to lead the Sisters of Charity for the past five years and now plans to return to the practice of consulting – which provides strategy, performance improvement and interim CEO staffing, as well as the IT implementation for health systems across the country – as its next chapter.
“I strongly believe we have the right team in place to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the development of the Health Campus on East 22nd Street, and explore new opportunities to support long-term care,” wrote Strauss. “May God open the doors for even more opportunities for the good work that has been in place for over 170 years serving the underserved in our communities.”