New wall art that recently popped up in the main hallway at Grant Medical Center is elevating the blood pressure of some of its employees.
The five paintings illustrate black healthcare workers on the job. Three of them are holding signs. One reads, “Black Lives Matter” with a black clinched fist. Another one reads, “Whitecoats For Black Lives.” A third placard states that “Racism Is A Public Health Crisis.”
"Saying systemic racism is a public health crisis when we have a real public health crisis we are fighting in this hospital with COVID-19 infuriates me,” a Grant Medical Center nurse told The Sussi Report. “It’s a slap in the face.”
Sources say the wall art appeared shortly after a group of Grant Medical Center nurses held a protest on September 24 outside of the hospital voicing their concerns about how COVID-19 and surging gun violence are dangerously taxing the nursing staff.
“It’s divisive and political,” said our source. “It’s not appropriate for a hospital setting to be political.”
Columbus artist and social justice advocate Lisa McLymont created the artwork. Next to the five paintings hangs a plaque that reads, “White Coats for Black Lives. Honoring the dignity and worth of each person is the cardinal value of OhioHeath. Grant associates and physicians lived that value in the summer of 2020, joining in a peaceful protest as part of White Coats for Black Lives – taking a knee in solidarity, and taking a stand against excessive force and systemic racism. The enduring legacy of that summer does not rest in never forgetting the moment. It continues through our daily recommitment to the truth that Black Lives Matter.”
Solitary? Grant Medical Center employees who talked with The Sussi Report say the artwork, particularly the messages behind the pieces, have created racial strife among some of Grant’s employees. “It’s not creating a culture of cohesiveness,” said a nurse. “It divides us in a place where we should not be divided.”
The Sussi Report has questions about the artwork and reached out to OhioHealth for some answers. To date, we have not received a statement.
OhioHealth provided The Sussi Report with this statement Tuesday at 12:45 p.m.
“Honoring the dignity and worth of each person is the cardinal value of OhioHealth.
Last summer, the City of Columbus declared racism a public health crisis, stating that “Black patients are dying in larger than expected, record numbers…due in part to long standing, unaddressed health disparities as well as systematic racism and other socioeconomic inequities.”
To keep this top of mind, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center’s Service Excellence Council partnered with local Black artist, Lisa McLymont, a designer and social justice advocate, to create artwork to commemorate White Coats for Black Lives, a movement where healthcare professionals around the county took a knee and gathered in a moment of silence, taking a stand against systemic racism.
At OhioHealth, we believe our organization must reflect the rich diversity of our communities and we respect, embrace and derive strength from our differences.”