Spring is a season of growth and new beginnings. We see it all around us in nature as plants flower and push out new growth. And we feel it in ourselves as daylight hours grow longer and we come out of hibernation. I’ve always loved the beauty, excitement and optimism that accompany the start of spring.

This year, The Center for Health Design is experiencing new growth as our formal partnership with the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) takes root in support of our mutual strategic goals, joining other passionate and committed associations as a Supporting Organization of The International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction (PDC Summit).

As a PDC strategic educational collaborator, we’ve developed a “conference within a conference” for the 2024 PDC Summit — creating multiple new tracks and expanding the educational offerings to provide a unique conference experience designed to bring together all the voices that make up our diverse health care design industry. 

For those unfamiliar with The Center for Health Design and our work over the last three and a half decades, our vision is to maximize health in all environments, and we work to achieve this through our mission — uniting, inspiring and empowering people to improve health through informed design. 

Over the years, our work has touched on every aspect of the physical environment in every type of health care facility and continues to expand — into new dimensions like digital health, health care at home and others — as the definition of a health care environment expands.

Our goal has been to continuously move the needle in our field, working to stay ahead of the trends to have the tools and resources that help make research and knowledge actionable and available when needed. Tools include the Safety Risk Assessment, a step-by-step, proactive process for mitigating risk in new building design that looks at six areas of safety — infections, falls, medication errors, security, injuries of behavioral health and patient handling — and the Interactive Design Diagrams, which are easy-to-interpret and visually intuitive diagrams that provide the link between research, design strategies and desired outcomes.

If you would like to learn more, I encourage you to visit our website at healthdesign.org, where you’ll find a significant collection of tools and resources — most accessible to all — that help connect building design to positive outcomes and safer health care experiences in a wide array of building types, from ambulatory care to acute care and senior living to behavioral health.

Over the past year and a half, The Center has been deeply involved in a long-term strategic planning process. Through it, we distilled our goals into three core areas:

  • Bridge the gap between the design and the health care communities by engaging the health care community at higher levels.
  • Build broader and deeper communities.
  • Close the loop around measurement and evaluation that connects the physical environment to outcomes.

Through this exploration, we realized The Center has a decades-long and successful history of creating and building community in our field — including the Healthcare Design and Environments for Aging Conferences and the Healthcare Facilities Symposium.

Though successful, what’s needed today is the next evolution of health care facility and design collaboration. By partnering with ASHE and the AHA, we can build upon each of our organization’s individual successes to add a new dimension to the PDC Summit, making it a single gathering place where the health care, architecture and design communities can talk, learn, explore and create powerful new networks of change to achieve next-generation advances in care. A place for clients, professional service providers and product manufacturers to better understand one another’s pressure points and stressors and, together, find solutions. 

We’re excited to launch this new venture with the addition of 12 unique sessions on design research and outcomes and a half-day Evidence-Based Design Fundamentals pre-conference workshop at the 2024 PDC Summit. Starting next year, that number will double to 24.

You’ll also see new content in addition to our regular “Design Discoveries” column, contributed by The Center to Health Facilities Management magazine. Our work and research, as well as that of our environment networks and other design and research partners, will be featured in this column and at least one feature article per issue. We hope that by sharing these new discoveries, ideas and explorations, we will stimulate valuable conversations, connections and advancements.

It has been a privilege to be involved in this work for nearly 35 years. I’ve seen The Center for Health Design grow and go through multiple transitions and iterations, but none as fundamental to the success and future of the health care design field as this new partnership. It’s an unparalleled opportunity in our history to create sustainable and vital change that will support not only the architecture, design and health care communities but also the patients, families and staff that we all work so hard to serve. 

About this column

“From The Center” is contributed by the leadership of The Center for Health Design and appears in each issue of Health Facilities Management magazine.