What makes the design of a healthcare facility different from other buildings? For the past six years, I’ve been something of a student of commercial design. It started with the retail sector: As executive editor and associate publisher of VMSD magazine, which stands for visual merchandising and store design, I was introduced to passionate, creative designers and architects within the world of cashwraps, sightlines, and window displays. I learned that drawing shoppers in, getting them to stay in, and enticing them to buy required a very careful approach to design that had to be engaging, seamless, and, most important, true to the brand.

I soon ventured into the hospitality arena, as well. As I continued to run VMSD, I helped launch a new magazine called Hospitality Style, which was later joined by Boutique Design via acquisition. These two magazines covered hotels, spas, resorts and restaurants of all sizes, all over the world. And even more so than retail, the design in this sector revolves around the customer experience. The ultimate goal is an environment that makes people feel taken care of so they want to come back again and again (and maybe bring a few friends or colleagues the next time around).

And now, I enter a new realm. While there are certain design principles that cross all sectors, and the line between healthcare and hospitality is often purposely blurred, the healthcare arena requires levels of planning and care beyond the scope of its sister disciplines. The customer isn’t just a customer; he or she is a patient. A patient’s needs carry far more weight in Maslow’s Hierarchy than those of an everyday shopper or traveler. Smart, thoughtful, meticulously planned design is critical to creating an atmosphere that not only serves, but heals.

You, of course, already know this. I imagine it drives many of you to do the work you do, and I admire that. I’m excited to have the chance to apply my 20-plus years of journalism training to dig into the details that inform this industry and to determine the best ways to provide you with the information and inspiration you need to do your jobs better. I will rely on the input of my talented staff, our industry partnerships, and you, our readers, to mold HEALTHCARE DESIGN magazine, its website and its events. I hope you’ll talk to me, and challenge me, as we move into this next phase. Let’s get this conversation started.