Our mission

To increase the pool of African-American Physicians & Dentists, in Northeast Ohio

Our vision

A Singular, unwavering commitment to eliminate healthcare disparities among minorities, by partnering with the Cleveland community.

Our Values

Leadership. Excellence. Integrity. Compassion. Stewardship. Teamwork.

Our Legacy

Health Legacy of Cleveland did not begin as a foundation or public charity. It first started as the Forest City Hospital Scholarship Committee (FCHSC). The committee’s name was conceived in tribute to Forest City Hospital that closed in 1979. Forest City Hospital was the only hospital available for African-American physicians seeking hospital privileges when it opened. Using the $16,000 remaining in the Forest City Hospital medical staff treasury almost 10 years after hospital closure, Dr. Oscar Saffold, former staff member at Forest City Hospital, and a loyal alumnus of Meharry Medical College, took a leadership initiative to make this money available as scholarship aid to Cleveland medical students enrolled at historically black medical colleges. Obtaining matching grants from the Forest City Hospital Foundation (another organization established after the closure of Forest City Hospital) and the Cleveland Foundation, $48,000 was awarded to 5 students in 1986, exhausting the corpus of funds.

The Forest City Hospital Scholarship Committee achieved foundation status (FCHS) in 1988 but lay dormant for several years while Dr. Oscar Saffold founded and developed Personal Physician Care, Incorporated, (PPCI) a health maintenance organization (HMO). The HMO eventually spun off a non–profit foundation in 1993.

The non-profit foundation was similarly named Personal Physician Care of Ohio, Incorporated, (PPCO), but was a purely philanthropic foundation initially capitalized with 1 million dollars. The Forest City Hospital Scholarship Foundation (FCHS) was adopted as the scholarship committee of PPCO. This Forest City Scholarship agent of PPCO identified scholarship candidates and recommended award amounts. Later, as all members of FCHS were also board members of PPCO and the mission of the two organizations was the same,the role of FCHS was absorbed into PPCO. PPCO, the foundation, was not affected by the closure of the HMO in 1998 and continued to thrive in the bullish stock market of the 1990’s.

In 2002, PPCO established the name Health Legacy of Cleveland and sought public support for the worthy cause of preserving the presence of African-American physicians and dentists in the greater Cleveland community. The 1993 original fund of 1 million dollars sustains the organization while the scholarship fund continues to grow through public support and in 2009 the Foundation received and restored its Public Charity status.

Since inception, the scope of the organization has broadened. Today, Health Legacy of Cleveland invites applicants from medical or dental school since many African–American physicians and dentists who practice in Cleveland are graduates of schools other than those historically attended by African-Americans. We also partner to support programming and award scholarships to graduating seniors pursuing health professions.

The collaboration with Cleveland Clinic in 2007 created the Charles R. Drew MD Saturday Academy and its scholarships for graduating seniors from northeast Ohio high schools. Health Legacy of Cleveland participates in community efforts to mitigate the causes of health care disparity in greater Cleveland. We strategically engage relationships to stimulate community programming that will support math and science education, and we encourage and mentor Cleveland area youth to become physicians and dentists or seek other health careers.


The health legacy in Cleveland is rich in history and worthy of continuing support.

The legacy includes a nursing school founded in 1898 by Dr. Latrobe Motley, one of the earliest black physicians; the near fifty-year struggle by black physicians to gain full privileges in the city’s major established hospitals; the founding of Forest City Hospital in 1954 by black physicians as the city’s only hospital with a truly integrated staff; the founding of the first African American owned and managed HMO, Personal Physician Care of Ohio; and the establishment of the Forest City Hospital Foundation, which has provided scholarship funds for African American medical and dental students who commit to practice in the greater Cleveland area. This fund has also been a major benefactor for the Eliza Bryant Home for the Aged, a facility that primarily serves African Americans.

It is our hope that scholarship recipients follow in the footsteps of such renowned doctors as Dr. Edgar Jackson, Dr. Grant Franklin, Dr. Doris Evans, Dr. Jefferson Jones, and Dr. Timothy Stevens.

The Strategic Goals of Health Legacy of Cleveland

The “Pool” can be increased by attention to Health Legacy’s principal function of providing scholarships, but also by: (1) efforts to recruit or steer minority youth into the health professions and (2) by enhancing practice opportunities for physicians and dentists who would like to practice in the Cleveland area, particularly the recipients of our scholarships.

Scholarship Strategy: Increasing our scholarship award levels and renewing awards for academically competent individuals, with the rationale that an upward adjustment would give the awards more impact.

Recruitment of Youth: Health Legacy of Cleveland will work with pre-college youth to acquaint them with medicine and dentistry and inspire and facilitate their entry into these professions.

Practice Opportunity: Health Legacy of Cleveland will seek to strengthen relationships with institutions and individuals to offer practice opportunities in the greater Cleveland area to alumni of our scholarship awards.

Volunteerism: Volunteering serves a strategic purpose, for the accomplishment of certain organizational goals. The force we can bring to bear by our personal involvement in the goal to increase the pool of African-American physicians and dentists in greater Cleveland, the more successful we will be.


Through scholarships we encourage, inspire, support and educate youth and young adults to become a part of the great health care legacy in greater Cleveland.

• By perpetuating the great health care legacy, we can impact the trend of the decreasing pool and increasing age of African American physicians & dentists in the greater Cleveland area.

• As a nonprofit foundation, from 1997– 2013, HLC has contributed over $600,000 in charitable donations and scholarships to the Cleveland community.

• In the year 2000, the Board of Trustees voted to focus contributions exclusively to its revised mission of scholarships for students pursuing health professions.

Medical + Dental School Scholarships

African American students enrolled in medical or dental school can apply each year for scholarships. Health Legacy of Cleveland requires that the scholarship recipient express the intent to return to Cleveland as a trained professional after graduation.

Undergraduate Scholarships

Graduates of the Charles R. Drew MD Saturday Academy are eligible to apply for renewable undergraduate scholarships for up to 4 years of college.

The Legacy Scholarship Awards

The Legacy Scholarships are named after physicians and dentists who have made significant contributions to the greater Cleveland community and serves role models for graduating high school seniors pursuing health careers.

GRANT FRANKLIN, MD was born June 21,1918 in Pauls Valley,Oklahoma. He married Rita Bruckschlogi and had four children: Monique, Julia, Grant Jr., and Dr. Carol Susan. He was educated at Langston University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in1941and a Master of Science from Atlanta University in 1947. From 1943 to 1946 he served in the Air Force as a 1st Lieutenant and a meteorologist with the Tuskegee Airmen.

After the Air Force, he attended and graduated from Meharry Medical College in 1951. His career as surgeon began over 50 years ago as an intern at Hubbard Hospital from 1951-52 and as a general surgical resident at Cleveland Veterans Administration and Case Western Reserve University Hospitals from 1952-56. He has been a senior clinical instruc- tor of surgery at Case Western Reserve Medical School, a surgical consultant at the Cleveland Veterans Administration Hospital and Associate Chief of Surgery at Huron Road Hospital. His surgical certification credentials are stellar and his organizational affiliations are numerous.

He is retired from private practice as a general surgeon. He was on the surgical staff sat Lutheran Medical Center, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, and St. Luke’s Hospital. In the community, he is a member of the advisory board of the Cleveland Foundation and a life member of the NAACP and PUSH. He was honored as “Physician of the Year” at the Polyclinic Hospital Reunion. As trustee of Forest City Hospital, he was co-presenter of one and one-half million dollars to the Eliza Bryant Center, which was thought to be the largest contribution from one black charitable institution to another in the city, and perhaps the nation, in 1984.

JEFFERSON J. JONES, DMD was born in Augustus County, Virginia, on February 9, 1932. Raised on the south side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated with an A.B. degree in 1954. He was employed as a Biochemical Technician in Cardiac Research at the Cleveland Clinic before being drafted into the Army, and upon his return to civilian life from 1957 to 1960. He attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, and received a research fellowship in pathology. He received his endodontic training at Letterman General Hospital. He returned to Cleveland in 1967 with his family, the former Sylvia V. Thompson and children Jefferson Harold and Jacquelyn Gale.

He is an Associate Professor, and the Chair of the Department of Endodontics at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. He has been on the faculty for thirty-six years and Department Chair for the last twenty-five years. He was the founding Dental Director of the Glenville Medical and Dental Health Center.

OSCAR E. SAFFOLD, MD was born in Cleveland, Ohio on February 20, 1941. He was educated at Fisk University (1960-63) and Meharry Medical College (1963-67) in Nashville, Tennessee. Trained at Tufts University School of Medicine and Boston City Hospital, an Assistant Resident in Dermatology and Chief Resident in Dermatology from 1969-71. He served in at the United States Air Force from1969-71.

Dr.Saffold is distinguished not only in the practice of medicine, but in philanthropy and leadership roles as well. He served as President of the Buckeye Independent Practice Association and was the Founder and President of the first African-American owned and operated HMO in Northern Ohio, Personal Physician Care of Ohio, Inc.. Dr.Saffold is also the founder of Health Legacy of Cleveland. He served as President from 1993-1998 and Executive Director from 1998-2002. He continues to make significant contributions as a member of the Board of Directors.


Contributions and grants have been received from corporations, foundations, individuals and friends of the health care and education community, and by sponsorship of various benefit events. Starting in 2003 all funds raised become scholarships awarded to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing health professions.

Dear Friends:

We chose the theme “Bridging the Gap in Health Care Disparity” to bring awareness to the issue of health care disparity and one solution that can make an impact.

Promoting health and preventing diseases are concepts and goals that Americans whole heartedly support. For the third decade, the United States has developed a plan for prevention of disease and the promotion of health, embodied in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services document (2000), Healthy People 2010. It is the hope to eliminate disparities in health, prevent oral diseases, cancer, birth defects, AIDS, mental illness, suicide and chronic diseases of aging. These lofty ideals serve also to highlight the reality of health care disparities experienced by minorities, especially African-Americans.

In over 500 peer-reviewed articles published in the last 15 years, ethnic/race based differences in health outcomes have been well documented. Even after controlling for socio-economic status, education, income, severity of illness, patient preferences and type of insurance, disparities still exist. For instance, African-American infant mortality is 14 deaths per 1000 live births compared to 6.9 deaths per 1000 births in the general population; African-American maternal mortality is more than three times that of white women, a statistic that has changed little in 20 years; minorities, including blacks, are less likely to be given the appropriate medications or to undergo bypass surgery and related procedures when suffering from cardio-vascular disease. African-Americans have strokes about a third more often than whites, yet they are less likely to receive proper interventions. In addition, African-Americans and other minorities are less likely to be placed on waiting lists for kidney transplants or receive either dialysis or transplants; a lower percentage of blacks receive needed surgery for lung cancer than whites; and, overall, blacks and other minorities receive lower quality care when compared to whites even if they are insured. The information regarding oral health is equally engaging.

The Healthy People 2010 initiative has established that 24% of non-Hispanic black children aged 2-4 years have experienced dental caries in their primary teeth compared to 15% of non-Hispanic whites. Blacks also have higher incidence of gingivitis, periodontal loss of attachment and missing teeth. Further, African-American males have the highest incidence of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers with associated lower survival rates.

What are the causes of these disparities? The Institute of Medicine recent report (2002), Unequal Treatment, outlined multiple causes for racial disparities including the way health care systems are organized and financed; the availability of certain services; bias and prejudice on the part of health care providers; poor quality of care by some providers as well as lack of trust in health care providers; and variation among racial and ethnic groups in the preferences of patients. It would appear from the genome project and other related research that most of the variations that cannot be explained are not genetic, but are as a result of differential exposure to environmental causes.

How then can the spectrum of health disparities be addressed? The Institute of Medicine Report (2002) and the Surgeon General Report on Oral Health (Dr. David Satcher, 2000) listed a range of interventions to address the disparities in health that will not be explored in depth in this communication. However, a common theme in both reports is to “… increase the proportion of underrepresented U.S. racial and ethnic minorities among health professionals”. Patients and providers of the same ethnic and racial backgrounds promote “… greater patient participation in care processes, higher patient satisfaction and greater adherence to treatment”. Further, African-American and other minority providers are more apt to serve in medically underserved communities. This is significant, since both nationally and locally, there is under-representation of African-American physicians and dentists. The following facts are noteworthy:

U.S. population: >292 million
12-13% of the population is black
4% of the nation’s physicians are black (over 600,000 physicians in the US)
7% of the medical students are black (4,637/66,253)
Enrollment has decreased by 12.5% over the past 10 years; for the 2003-2004 academic year, the number of black applicants rose almost 5% but the number who entered medical school declined 6%
The average cost of a medical education is $120-130,000. Tuition is increasing by 5% annually
The average debt for a recent medical graduate is over $100,000
Population: 500,000
50% of the population is black
number of physicians that are black- validated data is unavailable