Ray Pentecost is an architect on a mission to change the health of the world by transforming how his profession, and health care delivery, think about design. One of the nation’s foremost advocates and practitioners of healthcare facility evidence-based design, Ray has left deep and lasting footprints of change for others around the globe to follow.
For his passion, dedication and leadership in helping to transform architecture’s focus from healthcare to design for health, Ray Pentecost, DrPH, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP, was honored as the 2022 Changemaker at this year’s Healthcare Design Conference + Expo in San Antonio. The Changemaker Award honors individuals or organizations that have demonstrated an exceptional ability to change the way healthcare facilities are designed and built, and whose work has broad impact on the advancement of healthcare design.
As the Director of the International Union of Architects – Public Health Group (UIA-PHG) based in Paris, Ray has helped guide the worldwide architecture community toward the reality that every project in every practice around the world impacts the health of the people who experience it. He co-authored a declaration for the UIA, approved by 104 member nations, to make “2022: The UIA Year of Design for Health”, a worldwide spotlight on the ability of the design community to impact the health of all global citizens.
Ray also served as President of the International Academy for Design and Health (Stockholm), where he carried the message of health design around the world in presentations and articles in the Academy’s publication, “World Health Design: Architecture, Culture, Technology.”
Back home, at the invitation of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Ray chaired a congressionally mandated Independent Review Panel (IRP) in 2014 to evaluate the U.S. military’s global health system. Five years earlier he had helped develop the “World Class” guidelines to be applied to military healthcare facilities. His contributions helped spur creation of the World Class Design Toolkit, which continues to shape military healthcare construction and project development to this day with improved design quality and functionality. These guidelines were codified into U.S. law in 2010 and became the standard for military healthcare facilities from that point forward. They changed the military healthcare system forever.
Ray served a rare two terms as president of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health, guiding the transformation of the AIA’s treatment of design and health. He co-led an initiative to revise the Academy By-Laws to focus not just on healthcare facilities but also on healthy communities; and, he co-led the AIA’s America’s Design and Health Initiative. He also served on The Design and Health Leadership Group advising the AIA, and on The Design and Health Research Consortium representing a collective research voice of over 20 universities
A three-year term as president of the International Academy for Design and Health in Stockholm (IADH), and his presidency of the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) further extended his influence and expanded architecture’s focus to health, not just healthcare. His volunteer leadership and mentorship roles have profoundly impacted those who design the world’s health facilities and inspired countless professionals and young practitioners.
Currently, Ray is the Director of the Center for Health Systems & Design (CHSD) at Texas A&M University where he has led an important change by shifting the focus of the internationally recognized program from healthcare design to design for health. Texas A&M is home to the world's largest group of interdisciplinary faculty, students, and affiliated professionals committed to healthcare facility environment research and education. The center examines how the built and natural environments affect patients, influence healing, pain relief, quality health care, physical activity, social interaction, work flow and other behaviors. Texas A&M’s ground-breaking work at the nexus of design and health is thriving under Ray’s leadership.
Formally trained in Architecture, Public Health, and Nursing, he operates at Texas A&M with rare multi-college faculty appointments in Architecture, Medicine, and Public Health. To support the broader CHSD mission in an advisory capacity, Ray created the Academic Circle, composed of representatives from the Deans of all 19 Texas A&M Colleges and academic units, driving the growth of the CHSD Faculty Fellows to 118 scholars and researchers. This exceptional change has dramatically increased the ability to develop cross-disciplinary research, a rich multi-disciplinary curriculum, and an industry response capability that covers every possible domain.
A long-time and vocal advocate for person-centered care, evidence-based design, and well-designed environments for healing and restoration, Ray’s greatest impact may be inciting change in the hearts and minds of his students and colleagues. Ray is always a teacher, possessing the unique skills and abilities to ask deep and confounding questions that lead to intellectually expansive learning, and that have informed and inspired invaluable change in our industry.
“The global reach and impact of Ray’s contributions to healthcare design and architecture are incredible and immeasurable,” observes Debra Levin, Hon. FASID, EDAC, President and CEO of The Center for Health Design. “The important changes he has championed in military healthcare, in professional architectural academies and associations, and in academia ripple throughout our industry and lives.”
The 2022 Healthcare Design Conference + Expo was held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. Click here to view the Changemaker Award Video Presentation.
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