You may know our ministry as a health care system, but there’s more to us than the healing that happens at the bedside. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of our communities, including Lorain County, even when that means going beyond the walls of our hospitals.
“Lorain is a diverse community. It is home to the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich, and at the center of the community is the college where young adults are doing their best to create a better future,” Catherine Woskobnick, the director of community health for Mercy Health – Lorain, shares.
Helping community members succeed means focusing on the social determinants of health, which are the social, economic, environmental and behavior-related factors that can affect a wide range of health and quality of life risks and outcomes for individuals.
Catherine adds, “while our facilities do great work to care for the people in the hospitals, we are also out in the community and I believe that is truly our mission in action – that we care for all people.”
For example, food insecurity is one of the largest issues currently impacting Lorain County residents.
“Our own cafeteria cooks around 35 meals every single day that go out to people who have reduced access to food and meals,” Catherine shares. “Additionally, if the cafeteria has food left over, it will not go to waste. We will package it up and donate it to Oberlin community services, who will then distribute the meals to those in need. That’s our way of ensuring people have access to food, which is so critical.”
Our ministry also uses our religious beginnings to our advantage by enlisting local churches in their efforts. Norva Ross is just one of many local pastors working with us to serve those in need.
“Mercy Health serves so many throughout the community and creates the opportunity for those who are able to donate their time and service to the community as well,” Pastor Ross says. “It truly brings a sense of togetherness when so many people come together to serve those in need.”
In 1994, the Mercy Health – Lorain’s Parish Nursing Program began with health care outreach to just a few Catholic churches in the area. It’s since expanded to include 92 churches of various denominations, providing everything from health screenings to fitness classes and more.
“One of the most important aspects is the fact that it’s available across the many faiths we have here in Lorain,” Pastor Ross shares. “It is not uncommon for people in our area to delay seeking care or consultation for a variety of reasons. This program allows them to see a nurse and be pointed in the right direction to receive the care they need.”
We proudly have other programs in our Lorain market that also extend support to specific groups. They include Resource Mothers for new and expecting moms as well as Rising Stars, which supports underprivileged kids looking to pursue medical careers.
“It’s about us empowering them and then teaching them so that they feel that they have that ability but yet they have Mercy Health as their support system,” Catherine explains.
Collaboration is also key to the health system’s success. Mercy Health often teams up with other community organizations to extend its reach even further, hosting food drives for Oberlin Community Services, school supply drives to support students in Oberlin City Schools and working with the United Way to support various health initiatives, just to name a few.
In total, we proudly invest about $28.4 million in community benefit for Lorain County each year.
Learn more about our mission at Mercy Health.