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Take 5 with Cleveland Clinic CEO

Q: As President and CEO of a $6.2 billion healthcare system that is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest and is Northeast Ohio’s largest employer, how do you like to relax and recharge? 

A: I’ve always had a passion for the water and sailing. Years ago, I spent summers racing sailboats across the Great Lakes and teaching sailing at a yacht club. Eventually, I was fortunate to be a member of a crew on an America’s Cup contender (1962 and 1964 runner-up to the defending champion). To me, spending time on the water is peaceful, yet exhilarating. I also enjoy all of the things Cleveland has to offer—the museums, the art and cultural venues, the sports teams, and its restaurants.

Q: You joined the staff of the Cleveland Clinic in 1975 (Cosgrove is 75) after literally earning your stripes as a surgeon and solider in Vietnam. Forty years later, what impresses you most about Cleveland and Northeast Ohio? 

A: This is an exciting time for the city with so much new development and the opportunity to host the Republican National Convention in July 2016. In addition, there’s the recently opened (fall of 2013) Global Center for Health Innovation, which Forbes called “an Epcot Center for med tech.” We have so much to be proud of – a world-class art museum and orchestra and, of course, world-class healthcare.

Q: You have a reputation for being all about healthy food choices. What are your favorite local restaurants, and do you have any guilty pleasures?

A: At Cleveland Clinic, we are sticklers for healthy food choices. We’ve removed sugar-laden drinks and fried foods from our cafeterias and candy from our vending machines. When it comes to restaurants, some of my favorites are ML Tavern in Chagrin Falls, Parallax in Ohio City, Flour in Moreland Hills, and Table 45 at the InterContinental Hotel on Cleveland Clinic’s campus. My guilty pleasure? An occasional chocolate chip cookie and glass of milk.

Q: You’ve hosted many VIP guests; what are some attractions and entertainment venues you especially like to share with visitors?

A: I always enjoy taking guests to Cavaliers games, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Cleveland Orchestra concerts. Then there’s the West Side Market, which is a fabulous place to watch people and taste food items. And the one and only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is always a great place to visit.  

Q: If you hadn’t become a cardiac surgeon, what do you think you would’ve been? 

A: I once considered being a sail maker so I could create the perfect sail for optimal sailing. Instead, I learned to apply my stitching skills to heart surgery (ending with a ‘heartfelt’ laugh).