For decades, The Center for Health Design has been a creator of supportive communities where innovations can be shared, industry-wide challenges discussed, and new ideas nurtured.

In that spirit, we launched our first peer-to-peer network more than 10 years ago, the Built Environment Network (BEN). This group provides a high-level, collaborative forum for open, strategic discussions that help set a direction for the future of healthcare design.

BEN members are mostly senior- and executive-level professionals responsible for overseeing multiple millions of square feet of healthcare space and are dedicated to improving safety, quality, and sustainability. Over the years, this group has grown to include a wide variety of hospitals and healthcare systems as well as industry partners with common goals who help support the work.

Recently, The Center has been working to support pediatric design and networking through small in-person and virtual experiences, and this month we decided to advance this initiative and launch our second peer-to-peer group, the Pediatric Environment Network (PEN). Unlike BEN, which covers all types of healthcare facilities, PEN is geared to the unique needs of pediatric care and open to senior and executive-level healthcare facilities, design, and manufacturing/consulting professionals involved in the planning and oversight of these environments.

PEN members will benefit from year-round learning in a variety of formats, including five facilitated virtual meetings as well as an annual in-person meeting featuring hands-on, behind-the-scenes tours of exemplary pediatric environments. The first in-person meeting will be hosted by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in September.

The PEN group will be facilitated by seasoned veteran Judy Smith, an experienced management consultant, facility planner, and strategist who has worked exclusively with children’s and women’s health services and completed more than 1,000 projects in the United States and internationally. She also chaired the development of the first children’s hospital chapter for the Facility Guidelines Institute.
Because these networks are meant to stay small to facilitate relationships, membership to both BEN and PEN is limited and by application. For more information, reach out to The Center at

Debra Levin is president and CEO of The Center for Health Design. She can be reached at