A Word from the Director
John Sedor, M.D.

Providing expert clinical care depends on medical research. Every aspect of treatment is based on this research. From its very start as one of the first public hospitals in our country, the MetroHealth Medical System (formerly Cleveland City Hospital and Cuyahoga County Metropolitan Hospital) has recognized that the fundamental building block for improving patient care is quality medical research-research that investigates the most difficult health problems faced by our community. And that has been the tradition of MetroHealth - what we have done and will continue to do.

From its beginning as a fledgling city hospital in 1837, our institution has been dedicated to the science of improving health care. In 1914, Dr. Roy Scott, a cardiovascular researcher, became noted for his excellence in clinical research and education. Throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, MetroHealth's prominent scientists advanced clinical care by conducting meaningful research to improve our community's health: Dr. Robert Stecher, a prominent researcher in rheumatology; Dr. Frederick Robbins, who received the Nobel prize research leading to isolation of the polio virus; and Dr. Charles Rammelkamp, a Lasker Award winner whose research led to eradication of rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis as sequelae of streptococcal infection.

While diseases such as polio and rheumatic fever have been eradicated, there is much more that MetroHealth needs to do. Common diseases including cancer, heart failure, hypertension, asthma, arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney failure, stroke, infectious diseases and diabetes unfortunately, may be seen in many families in our area. These diseases are chronic and, at present, have no cures. Each individual person varies tremendously in their response to diseases and treatments. Why is this? The main reason is obvious but sometimes overlooked: each of us is unique. Causes of these diseases are associated with both our genetic make up and the environment-the old nature/nurture problem. We don't really know how these two elements interact to produce disease. An understanding of the nature/nurture problem is the first step to finding new cures for these diseases.

At the Rammelkamp Center for Education and Research, we have established Centers for Excellence that integrate basic research with genetic epidemiology and clinical research to find the genetic and environmental causes for these diseases. Our Centers are comprised of basic scientists, clinical scientists, and population scientists who are funded by peer-reviewed agencies such as the NIH. The integrated approach of our Centers of Excellence will eventually result in new treatments and cures for these diseases. Our ongoing commitment to academic and clinical excellence, coupled with extensive capabilities in biotechnology, bioengineering, genetics, and population science will assure that the Rammelkamp Center for Education and Research continues to grow as one of the major research and training centers in the country.