We did it. The Healthcare Design team held our first in-person event in almost two years when we and about 100 industry members took to Santa Fe, N.M., for the 2021 HCD Forum. By nature, Forum is the type of gathering that always feels a bit like a homecoming, an intimate, invitation-only affair uniquely designed to foster engagement and interaction between an attendee base consisting of our Editorial Advisory Board members, HCD 10 award winners present and past, and some new and old friends.

And even with masks, fist bumps, and social distancing, I can’t overstate how good it felt simply to be with one another.

It also reminded me that this industry truly thrives when its members come together. In fact, your shared mission to improve healthcare built environments and passion for the exchange of knowledge require it.

As usual, I watched as our Forum attendees—in many cases competitors—gathered in teams to dive into discussions on how to solve enduring industry challenges, share ideas for innovations and futuristic solutions, and present their collective ideas with the same gusto as they had when creating art projects together (check it out in our Forum coverage).

Forum also served as the perfect warm-up for what’s happening as this issue hits mailboxes: the 2021 Healthcare Design Expo and Conference in Cleveland, Oct. 23-26. Now, I’ve already shared how amazing my hometown on Lake Erie is, but so is this event. I know, I know—I can’t be objective. But if you’re a healthcare design professional, there’s truly no place like HCD Expo.

Across four days, you can immerse yourself in education, networking, product exploration, and—ideally—the chance to reignite your passion, refocus your mission, and return to work ready for the year ahead. And there’s so much work to be done as we progress through the COVID-19 pandemic and apply lessons in flexibility, adaptability, resiliency, and patient and staff experience to future projects.

But before we look ahead, I’m also loving the opportunity to look back.

Forum gave us the chance to finally gather in person to celebrate our 2020 HCD 10 winners in addition to the 2021 class of The HCD 10 and applaud their collective contributions to this field. The same will hold true at HCD Expo, where our 2021 winners of the Design Showcase, Remodel/Renovation Competition, and Rising Star Awards will be recognized while we also share with attendees the 2020 award recipients who we weren’t able to fete properly last year.

I’m excited about seeing many of you at this year’s HCD Expo and getting fully back into the swing of things in 2022, 2023, and so on. We are here, and we’ll continue to be here, eager to support and nurture all this industry has to offer when it comes together.