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Huntington-Akron Foundation awarded Summa Health a $300,000 grant to fund additional community health workers at the Summa Health Equity Center. Pictured are (from left) Cliff Deveny, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Summa Health; Billi Copeland King, director, Summa Health Equity Center; Lydia Cook, president, Summa Health Medical Group; Marlo Schmidt, director of community benefit, Summa Health; Amy Patton, Akron Region marketing specialist, Huntington National Bank; and Nicholas Browning, Akron Region president, Huntington National Bank and president, Huntington-Akron Foundation.  

Huntington is banking on boosting the community

Grant shows bank's commitment to strengthening neighborhood health

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Promise magazine.

Huntington National Bank, a venerable Ohio-based institution, is both bank and booster for the Greater Akron region through its commitment to invest in neighborhoods and improve the quality of life in the communities it serves.

The Huntington-Akron Foundation recently affirmed the strength of its commitment by awarding Summa Health a $300,000 grant to fund additional community health workers at the Summa Health Equity Center. Opened in 2012, the Summa Health Equity Center was established to address, reduce and eventually eliminate health disparities among all social groups. Its goal is to empower people to change unhealthy behaviors that exacerbate health disparities and provide options for them to take control of their own health.

People who struggle to meet basic daily needs because of poverty, lack of education and other social determinants often face extra barriers in caring for their health and wellness. These barriers commonly result in delayed care and poor overall community health. Community health workers assist underserved populations in overcoming these barriers by identifying needs and linking people to appropriate resources.

“Our community health workers are from the neighborhoods we serve,” said Dr. Lydia Cook, president of Summa Health Medical Group. “They can relate to, understand and connect with this population — without judgment — which helps us get services to those in need more efficiently and effectively.”

Summa Health community health workers guide patients through the social service process. They help empower individuals to make healthy lifestyle changes and participate in Health Equity Center programs. They also serve as mentors in navigating community resources. Most importantly, though, these community health workers get to know their patients personally to better understand the totality of their needs.

“By funding a network of community health workers, Huntington is helping to create an environment in which the community can thrive, rather than just survive,” said Nicholas Browning, president of Huntington’s Akron Region and president of the Huntington-Akron Foundation. “Our goal is to help people help themselves, which is essential in achieving long-term sustainability and growth.”

Huntington has a long history of supporting the Akron Region in collaboration with Summa Health. It has consistently served as a major sponsor of the Sapphire Ball and supported other programs and services of Summa Health, contributing more than $800,000 in gifts to the health system.

“Huntington and Summa Health are perfectly aligned in what we hope to accomplish,” said Mr. Browning, who also is a member of the Summa Health board of directors. “We recognize that, by working together, we can create a greater lasting impact — one that provides value, sustains healthy communities and empowers future generations.”

For more information about supporting the Healing Arts program at Summa Health, contact Vanessa Sampsel, Director, Foundation Relations, at 330.375.7840 or


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