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The Center for Health Design
The Center for Health Design - Currents Newsletter

November 29, 2018

The Scoop

Groundbreaking Work: Creating Safer Healthcare Spaces That Support the Healing Process

Each year, The Center for Health Design’s Board of Director’s selects a person or organization that has contributed to our field in a significant way and awards them the Changemaker Award in acknowledgement of their accomplishments. This year the Changemaker Award went to someone who is internationally recognized for his impact on the design of healthcare facilities with particular recognition for his groundbreaking work in the planning and design of psychiatric facilities - Francis Murdock Pitts, FAIA FACHA OAA. Frank is the founding partner and president of architecture+, an advocate, educator, and designer who for nearly 40 years, has been a leader in a movement that has resulted in the re-imagination of the psychiatric hospital as a building type; one that confounds the stigma of mental illness and provides examples, lessons, and inspiration for mental health providers and architects throughout the world.

He is a pioneer in the understanding and implementation of two interrelated movements impacting hospital design: evidence-based design and therapeutic environments. Recognized as an advocate for broader dissemination of scientific evidence that healthcare environments have a profound influence on patient recovery, he has used this work as a means to fundamentally rethink the environments in which psychiatric and cognitive care, in particular, are provided. His "House-Neighborhood-Downtown" model for mental health facilities and the creation of smaller cluster-based residential treatment settings within larger inpatient units, are the product of extensive research, collaboration with clinicians, interaction with mental health patients and their families, continuing observation, and imagination about the potential for environments to support healing.

A frequent writer, lecturer, and panelist, he is committed to sharing his expertise with the architectural, medical, and scientific communities. He has spoken about psychiatric care, the relationship between architecture and neuroscience, and healthcare design in the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe. His firm's research into patient safety lead to the development of a testing-based and research-informed patient safety standard that is cited by the Facility Guidelines Institute's Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals (2018 edition) as a generally recognized standard. 

During the Changemaker Award ceremony at Healthcare Design Expo & Conference this year, longtime friend and colleague, Joan Saba, FAIA, FACHA, Partner NBBJ, talked with Frank about his career, what he is currently working on and what the future holds. (Read more here.)

Providing all of us with a lifetime full of advocacy and leadership in achieving equity, diversity and inclusion within architecture has provided so many people with inspiration and opportunities - congratulations again to Frank, our 2018 Changemaker!

Be well,

Debra Levin, Hon. FASID, EDAC
President and CEO


Industry News Briefs

Psychiatric Care for Children Designed to be a 'Pavillion in the Park'

VCU Health and Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University have opened a 119,000-square-foot Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC), in Richmond, Va. Dedicated to delivering family-centered psychiatric care for young patients, the freestanding, $65 million facility provides short-term crisis stabilization with round-the-clock care, and assistance to families in transitioning patients to continuing care after discharge.

The team at CannonDesign (Grand Island, N.Y.) conceived the VTCC as a “pavilion in the park,” designed to offer a welcoming, non-institutional feel for its clientele.

The center, which opened in April 2018, has 32 beds, consisting of two units with 12 private rooms each. (Typical inpatient stays are 5 to 7 days.) Patient amenities include a gymnasium, outdoor courtyard, and play equipment. Healthcare Design, more . . .


Design Can Support Mental Healthcare Delivery

The threshold holds special fascination for architects. A doorway, hall, or garden is a spatial manifestation of transition between two phases and can make all the difference in the experience of both. In the design of mental-health-care spaces, where a patient may literally enter in one state and exit in another, the threshold is particularly important.

“We look at the sequencing as you move from the outside through the inside,” says Stephanie Vito, a lead architect in the behavioral-health studio at CannonDesign. “We really spend a lot of time looking at the nuances.”

With 27 people—architects, planners, designers, engineers, programmers, and advisers—spread over six of the firm’s offices in the United States and Canada, the studio operates as a pool of experts tapped to helm projects in the highly specialized field of behavioral-healthcare design, in which everything from drywall to faucets requires consideration different from that in other health-care environments. CannonDesign has been creating behavioral-health-care spaces for three decades, so it has had ample opportunity to track the field’s evolution. Metropolis, more. . .


Inaugural International Nursing Conference for Excellence in Healthcare Design: History, Design and Innovation

Abstracts are now being accepted for the inaugural International Nursing Conference for Excellence in Healthcare Design, sponsored by the Clemson University School of Nursing.  Abstacts may focus on measuring outcomes, patient experience, safety and quality, healthy work environment, and innovation and design.
More information here.


A Special Thank You to Our 25th Anniversary VIP Reception Partners, Friends and Donors
On Saturday, November 10, 2019, The Center for Health Design held a special 25th Anniversary Celebration & Silent Auction to honor those who have contributed to and made The Center' s work possible. Affiliate and Affiliate+ members, Pebble Project partners, The Center's board members, friends and staff mingled, enjoyed appetizers and bid on various auction items both live and virtual. You can see the full reception program here.



2019 HCD Expo & Conference
Call for Presentations -  Now Open!

Are you a content expert that would like to share your knowledge at the 2019 Healthcare Design Expo & Conference? We are currently accepting presentation proposals for educational sessions and roundtable discussions.

Submit presentation ideas for consideration around:

  • patient safety and satisfaction
  • ambulatory care
  • remodeling/renovation/conversions
  • impact of technology
  • clinical perspectives
  • high performance hospital/sustainable practices
  • design for wellness          
  • innovations in facility planning and management
  • design challenges and solutions
  • specialty facilities and/or departments, (i.e. Oncology, Pediatrics, Behavior Health, OR, ED, etc.)
  • strategies for financing and operations
  • international trends and practices
  • healthcare at home
  • other topics of relevance to the healthcare design industry

Presentation proposal submission deadline is January 18, 2019





Mecho’s EcoVeil Sheer was born from the challenge to create an attractive,
durable shadecloth that would pass the NFPA 701® without chemical additives while being incorporated into complete Cradle to Cradle Certified™ (C2C) manual shade systems.

EcoVeil Sheer’s broken-twill weave uses translucent, polyester yarns to diffuse daylight while maintaining views. EcoVeil Sheer is the first shadecloth to meet the Healthier Hospitals Initiative Safer Chemicals Challenge, and has also earned Best of NeoCon Silver 2017, a Cradle to Cradle™ Material Health Certificate, and a Nightingale Award, which honors products that contribute to healing.

Read more here.



We invite you

to Three Webinars in One Day-
Learn How to Improve Care for Behavioral Health Challenges through Design Strategies 

Did you miss our recent sold out Behavioral Health Workshop —Strategic Design Innovations that Improve Treatment Outcomes, Safety and the Bottom Line? Or did you attend the workshop and want to share some of the key takeaways with your colleagues? Join us for this unique opportunity to learn from some of the day's faculty how to employ physical design strategies and methodologies that support improved care for behavioral health. The Behavioral Health Webinar Day features five of the workshop speakers, all experts in their diverse fields. You can attend each webinar as an individual or as a group or you can purchase a day pass and attend all three.  

More Information and Registration Here

Classic Resources

Free resources and tools to advance best practices and demonstrate the value of design to improve health outcomes, patient experience of care, and provider/staff satisfaction and performance. 

EBD Journal Clubs

Evidence-Based Design (EBD) Journal Clubs are free, open to all and provide one EDAC/AIA CEU. These sessions provide opportunities to hear presentations from authors who have recently published EBD papers and articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the HERD Journal and learn as they share ways to put their research into practice. 

Knowledge Repository

A complete, user-friendly library of healthcare design resources that continues to grow with the latest research. Start with our Knowledge Repository for all of your searches for articles and research citations on healthcare design topics.






The Center for Health Design is a nonprofit 501c(3) organization whose mission is to transform healthcare environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education and advocacy. Looking for ways to support our work? Contact us.

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