I am an eternal optimist. My philosophy is that life is going to come at you no matter what you do, so you might as well enjoy the ride. There is no better time of year for an eternal optimist than the start of the New Year. Fresh start, clean slate, new beginnings—there are dozens of clichés that cover how it feels to wake up on January 1 and say to yourself, “OK, this year I’m going to __________,” and to know that you really mean it.

Maybe that’s why I love the work we do in our industry so much. Every new building project, every remodel, every time you put pen to blank paper, you get a new start. An opportunity to change culture or fix a work flow process that isn’t working. You have an opportunity to reduce the chance of a medical error, make a building safer or more environmentally friendly, even to reduce the overall cost of doing business for a healthcare organization. You have the opportunity to add a building of beauty to the local landscape, a building that challenges a community’s notion of what a healthcare institution looks like and what an environment for healing can really be.

That’s a lot of opportunity we hold in our hands, and not educating yourselves with the latest research findings or benchmarking against the best standards our field has to offer is the most surefire way to miss out on making the most of these opportunities. It is true that the amount of information available on any number of subjects has blossomed over the past few years, so much so that finding your way though it can at times seem daunting. The good news is that it is out there and the quality of the information is increasing by magnitudes each year, something that a decade ago we could not say.

Here at The Center, we are working on a variety of ways to bring large amounts of that information together in one location, as well as ways to make the information more useful and meaningful to you. We are in development on some exciting projects that will bring the information to you and help you find your way through it by making the navigation more intuitive. Many of these tools will be Web-based to allow for easy and timely access, so keep an eye on our Web site (http://www.health design.org) for the launch of some of these new initiatives.

Also hot off the press is A Visual Reference for Evidence-Based Design. This long-awaited book by Center Board member and world-renowned author Jain Malkin explains basic research tools and methods and includes more than 300 full-color, annotated images, as well as spatial plans with linked research and accompanying commentary to help you not just see what a plan looks like but to understand what about the plan works well and why.

And this publication, HEALTHCARE DESIGN, will become a monthly publication starting in 2008 with special issues throughout the year that focus on what’s happening in the healthcare design industry outside the United States, the latest research and developments in the area of green design and sustainability, as well as articles that keep you up to date on unique projects your colleagues are working on.

So though it’s true that the New Year brings new challenges, remember it also brings a blank canvas and new opportunities to create great things out there in this world that will have permanence for generations yet to come. HD

The Center for Health Design is located in Concord, California. To comment on this article, visit http://healthcaredesi.wpengine.com.


News of note from The Center for Health Design:

  • Derek Parker, FAIA, is retiring from The Center for Health Design Board of Directors after close to 20 years of service. In honor of his dedication and commitment to the work of The Center and the advancement of the field, the Board has bestowed upon him Director Emeritus status.

  • The EDAC program gained a significant partner when Nurture signed on as a multiyear sponsor of the initiative. The support from Nurture will allow for the creation of multiple study guides and online educational tools that will assist industry professionals who are seeking EDAC accreditation.

  • Herman Miller has led the way by becoming the first Research Partner Affiliate of The Center for Health Design.