The comprehensive Healthcare Design brand includes lots of programs, events, and competitions. But one that’s quickly become a favorite of mine is our Rising Stars awards. The program, which recognizes up-and-coming professionals who are poised to be this industry’s next great leaders, was born from our other professional recognition program, The HCD 10. It was originally one of our categories of nominees, but we received so many submissions that we saw an opportunity for something bigger.

And it hasn’t disappointed. It’s such a pleasure to comb through the dozens of nominations that come pouring in, reading about newcomers to the field who are already so passionate and making such impressive contributions. And what’s really cool is that we decided not to limit the program by age like a typical “under 40” approach; instead, we ask that individuals, regardless of time spent working in the design field, have focused on healthcare, specifically, for fewer than 10 years.

So what makes a Rising Star? It’s a good question and one that we’ve grappled with internally. One basic factor is the ascent itself. Many nominees, for example, are doing really great work, getting some solid healthcare projects under their belts. Yet they perhaps haven’t quite risen to the point of taking on leadership roles within their organizations or been tapped for oversight of a major project. It’s not that they aren’t impressive—believe me, they’ll be on our list soon enough. It’s just that they’re not quite there.

Another critical component of the nomination is demonstrating a true commitment to healthcare design. We want to see that nominees have been purposeful, even strategic, in their focus on our design segment. We love to hear stories about what attracted them to this field, what’s kept them hooked, how they’re working to improve upon it, and so on. Someone who perhaps landed here by luck or accident isn’t out of the running, but, again, we might want to hear from them after they’ve spent a few years in this complex world of healthcare and have decided to stick around.

After culling through our 2019 nominations, we ended up with nine Rising Stars that you’ll find profiled in the links below. They ticked those boxes and then some. What I especially appreciate is the depth and range found in their work, collectively representing the many steps one might take on that ascent I mentioned earlier.

We also celebrated their accomplishments during the recent Healthcare Design Expo & Conference held in New Orleans in November. I hope you enjoy reading about them here.—Jennifer Kovacs Silvis, editor-in-chief