Ellen Taylor, PhD, AIA, MBA, EDAC, vice president for research, The Center for Health Design (Concord, Calif.)

WHO SHE IS: Taylor graduated with a degree in architecture from Cornell University and spent a decade working in a firm environment before becoming project director for Amtrak’s high-speed rail program and, later, senior director of station planning for the country. It was at Amtrak that she began to understand the value of connecting design of the built environment to return on investment, challenged by leaders to prove how her contributions affected the company’s bottom line. This prompted her to return to school to pursue a master’s of business administration degree, through which she discovered a passion for research that could quantify design and purchase decisions through a business lens. Following completion of her degree, Taylor was hired to evaluate the financial impact of comprehensive wayfinding systems by studying the visitor and patient experience in multiple healthcare facilities. After attending the Healthcare Design Conference in 2005, where she attended sessions on evidence-based design and learned about The Center for Health Design’s work, she began volunteering with The Center’s Environmental Standards Council and formally joined the organization as a research associate in 2008. She worked with several Pebble Project partners and provided support for other research projects. Today, as vice president for research, Taylor’s work can be seen across multiple Center projects as well as the industry at large through her work with the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) and as a member of Health Environments Research & Design (HERD) Journal’s editorial advisory board.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Taylor’s plate was full this past year as she completed her PhD in healthcare human factors at Loughborough University in England, while also serving as principle investigator for the development of The Center’s web-based Safety Risk Assessment toolkit, which helps design teams proactively identify and mitigate safety issues in the built environment. She assisted The Center’s team on expanding and improving its Knowledge Repository, a database for healthcare environment research citations, and guided its research team in the writing of numerous issue briefs covering topics ranging from emergency department throughput to universal design for aging. As a member of FGI’s Steering Committee for the Health Guidelines Revision Committee, Taylor helped lead the development of a new volume, Guidelines for Design and Construction of Outpatient Facilities, as part of the 2018 revision cycle. She also conducted a literature search that guided her creation of an initial draft of language to support design for telemedicine. Additionally, Taylor contributed a chapter on infection control risk assessments in new and existing healthcare facilities for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance document, which will be available in spring 2018.

WHAT’S NEXT: In the coming months, Taylor and The Center’s research team will complete a systematic review (sponsored by FGI) of single-bed patient room research, which will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and presented in November at the 2017 Healthcare Design Expo & Conference in Orlando. She also plans to seek grant opportunities and continue to work on The Center’s Knowledge Repository, issue briefs, and resources, including more interactive online tools.