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JULY 2020

Design for Change

We've been saying it for years, but never has it felt truer or more personal than it does right now. The design of our environments, but especially healthcare facilities, is a critical component of wellbeing, safety and quality of life. There's a renewed and determined focus on all that needs to be considered not just in light of infection spread and COVID, but in keeping us all safe and sane as our communities continue to be in various stages of lockdown, schools face potential closures in the fall and working from home becomes our norm.

With the world continuing to face COVID-19, our industry continues to rise to the challenge put before us creating spaces that provide solutions both now and into the future. We've helped to make rapid adjustments to current structures, been creative in repurposing older areas or facilities no longer in use, and created temporary structures in record time. And, while all of this has happened very quickly, the importance of the design in each of these scenarios remained critical to patient and staff safety and to reducing the potential for the spread of infection.

And now, as we've had some distance from the start of this epidemic, we've started to ask ourselves the important question of "What's next?" How can we take all that we've learned these past months and incorporate it into the next generation of building design, building in resilience and flexibility so we can be prepared for an unpredictable future.

Though we don't have all the answers, we do have the forum to ask the right questions, have the conversation and document what we've learned. We have several upcoming virtual opportunities planned  webinars and workshops where experts from a variety of sectors will present practical and rapid solutions from their latest research and projects, and lead conversations where we can all explore and learn together. I hope you will join us for many of these upcoming events and be a part of the conversation. 

Be well,

Debra Levin, Hon. FASID, EDAC
President and CEO


Design Resources to Help Minimize Infections in the Built Environment 

The Center for Health Design has gathered resources from our own website, as well as from partner organizations, to help healthcare facilities address near-term needs related to the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to better inform plans and projects in development now and in the future.

While these resources were created to help minimize the impact of infections and transmittable diseases in healthcare facilities, much of the research and guidance is relevant and useful in any built environment.

These resources include:

  • The latest COVID-19-specific research and facility response guidance;
  • Our MakingRoom online database connecting hotels with hospitals in urgent need of additional space;
  • Our Infection Control Toolbox with evidence-based strategies, tools and best practices;
  • A link to the FEMA Claims Recovery Service and,
  • Select relevant research and articles from our Knowledge Repository. 

Access COVID-19 Resources here.




Free Tools & Resources

Tool: Cleaning Methods & Materials Characteristics Tool

When considering the design of surfaces and selecting materials, design teams should take surface maintenance and cleaning into account. This includes understanding the context of the assembly of different adjacent surfaces and materials (e.g., where crevices between surfaces may trap dirt, or where different materials next to one another require different cleaning methods), as well as product limitations (material characteristics) and cost implications. This tool provides an overview of cleaning mechanisms (i.e., processes and/or technologies) and material characteristics, which in turn may influence materials selection and specification.

Upcoming Events

Make Sure to Get These Events on Your Calendar

7/9Free EBD Journal Club: Analyzing ICU Patient Room Environmental Quality Through Unoccupied, Normal, and Emergency Procedure Modes: An EQI Evaluation

7/15, Healthcare Environment Awards Submission Deadline

7/16, Free Webinar: New Information About Specifying and Cleaning Durable Coated Fabrics

7/23, Free COVID-19 Voices of the Industry Webinar Series, Part 3

7/30, Free Webinar, Behavioral Health Outpatient Care in the Post Pandemic World


Classic Resources

Interview: The Need for Infection Control Specialists and Designers to Build on Common Ground, an interview with Jesse Thomas Jacob, MD 

Dr. Jacob describes the three main ways pathogens are spread in a healthcare facility, why infection control specialists and designers need to work as a team for best results and ​why more research is needed to determine the impact of specific design features on infection control.

Webinar: Residential Design for Health and Longevity

Imagine your home as a place for regeneration and a sanctuary for healing the wounds of the outside world. This webinar presents a virtual one-hour tour of the designer, Cynthia Leibrock's home which has been featured on the cover of The New York Times.




September WorkshopsSeptember Workshops

emerging policies, new design strategies
4 Workshops That Address Today's Challenges

The world is changing quickly. And, so are the challenges facing healthcare design. We're bringing together the industry-leading experts who will present the challenges facing telemedicine, pediatric, behavioral health, and residential environment design and architecture. Join us to problem-solve with the experts and learn about the latest design interventions that create high-quality, high-tech and uplifting environments.  

Join us for one, two, three or all four days!


Thanks to these partners


Whitehall Manufacturing

stance healthcare Architecture+
spec Accurate



Kingsway Group

Behavorial Safety


Industry News Briefs

Healthy Design Choices Can Support Patients' 



According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not just the absence of disease or sickness. Considering a person’s health holistically is not only an important practice for medical professionals, but it is also critical to the work you are responsible for every day. From the chemicals chosen for cleaning and disinfection to the finishes selected for the walls, these choices have the power to impact the health and wellbeing of patients and complement the diligent work of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff in your facility.
Healthcare Facilities Today,

Navigating Flooring Decisions in

the Era of COVID-19 

A global event like the COVID-19 pandemic has a way of forcing people to adapt, without notice or exception. Trends in healthcare facilities that were in high demand just a few short months ago will now take a backseat as the industry reprioritizes around one goal: Limit the spread of infectious disease. One design element that has the potential to make critical impacts in this fight is flooring.
Healthcare Design,

The Promise and Peril of Virtual Health Care

Telemedicine and telehealth involve a myriad of remote-health-care technologies and services collectively known as “virtual care.” For years, virtual care played a minor role in the United States’ $3.6-trillion health-care industry; now, with the covid-19 pandemic, millions of people are discovering its benefits and its shortcomings for the first time. If virtual care is the future of health care, is it a future that we want?
The New Yorker,

Design Strategies for

Next Gen Biocontainment Units 


As the current COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact countries around the globe and concerns regarding the safety of the healthcare workers on the frontlines are growing, healthcare facilities are working hard to best support, manage, and protect patient-facing healthcare workers as they provide patient care. This is driving a new discussion on biocontainment care units (BCU), which are specifically designed for the care of patients with highly contagious and hazardous diseases, such as COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), smallpox, and Ebola Virus disease.
Healthcare Design ,


The Center for Health Design would like to thank our thought leadership partner:



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. Learn more. For information about sponsor or partnership opportunities, contact our VP of Relationship Development, Randy Carter


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