First Year Cleveland

First Year Cleveland

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Biomedical Research Building
11000 Cedar Avenue - 4th Floor Cleveland, OH 44106

Phone 216-368-4837
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Message from Bernie Kerrigan, FYC Executive Director

April 21, 2021 – It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that I will be stepping down as First Year Cleveland’s Executive Director. I am humbled to have been selected to serve as the next president and CEO for Achievement Centers for Children. Accepting this leadership position with an organization I have always admired is a tremendous honor, yet it is hard to say goodbye to FYC and CWRU. My last day with FYC will be Friday, June 4, 2021.

It has been an honor and a privilege of incredible proportions to be the inaugural executive director of First Year Cleveland and to be part of the CWRU School of Medicine team. I believe in our collective action work. I am proud of what we have accomplished together over the last five years and support where FYC is going under its new direction to double-down on our community-wide anti-racism efforts. And more than anything, I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from new and expectant parents and parents that have lost a child, as well as the hundreds of partners who work with us – with urgency and determination – to reduce infant deaths and address structural racism. I am so grateful for the opportunity you have all given me to serve our community in this role since November 2016. These last years have been so meaningful, which is what has made this recent decision and upcoming transition bittersweet. 

I know FYC will continue to do excellent work on behalf of children, families, and those who depend on our collective services, using all its power and wisdom to reduce infant deaths. Our goal to eliminate racial disparities within infant deaths by 2030 is critically important, which is why we must all continue to lead on anti-racism fronts as well as quality maternal and child health programs. I have every confidence that FYC will continue to thrive.
I have been part of courageous, effective, bold and impactful internal and external teams and have been blessed with extraordinarily talented staff, consultants, and community partners and surrounded by extraordinary CWRU team members. I am grateful for these partnerships and relationships. Our direct service workers and their leaders are true unsung (s)heroes. I am so grateful for your passion and dedication. Keep up your excellent work. 
Thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime by serving as FYC's inaugural executive director. Over the next several weeks, I will work closely with CWRU and FYC staff to create an effective transition plan that will be announced prior to my departure on June 4th. 

Daily, through our collective work, I have strived to pay homage to the families who have lost a baby by speaking honestly to the devastating impact of structural racism. Looking ahead, my daughters and I will continue to learn, to speak out, to listen, to assist, to volunteer and to work 24/7 to lead anti-racism efforts on a family, neighborhood and community level.
With gratitude,

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