We are a culture of choices. Cable or satellite TV? Macintosh or PC? Treo or BlackBerry? We have so many options for almost anything we might possibly want that sometimes just ordering dinner can be a task worthy of a spreadsheet. Having a choice is a good thing, but having so many different options can be complicated and even costly. Just this fall, there were three national healthcare design conferences all within a four-week period. Although we can't help you with all of the decisions you have to make in your workaday life, we are trying to help at least in the areas of research, education, and advocacy. In an effort to strengthen the healthcare design field and help consolidate the many options out there for you, we have formed two new partnerships in the past few months.

I am pleased to announce that the Coalition for Health Environment Research (CHER) is now a part of The Center for Health Design. All of the volunteers involved with CHER will continue to do the excellent work they have been doing in creating practical research for healthcare and design professionals. Since our missions are similar, it only made sense for us to join forces and use The Center's resources to expand and create more access to this research.

Together, The Center and CHER will have a much greater impact on the healthcare and design industries. We will be able to seek funding for research projects as one organization and use The Center's resources to promote and disseminate the work so that more people will have access to it. Under the new structure, the CHER governing board becomes the CHD CHER Research Committee, headed by CHER's current chair, H. Bart Franey of Wellness Environments, LLC. The CHER Research Council becomes the CHD CHER Research Council, headed by Uriel Cohen, ArchD, of the University of Wisconsin and the University of California at Berkeley.

CHER projects under way that will be available through CHD include research papers on limiting the spread of infection in healthcare environments, environmental correlates of falls and their implications for the design of healthcare environments, and reducing errors and increasing efficiency by design in acute care settings. Also in the works is a project to survey the industry and uncover the top 100 burning issues affecting the industry to help guide future research topics.

What's more, current dues-paying members of CHER will automatically become Affiliate members of The Center and enjoy all of the benefits. It is a win-win situation for both organizations and for the industry.

The other news I'm pleased to announce is that beginning in the fall of 2007, AIA's Academy of Architecture for Health Conference will merge with our HEALTHCARE DESIGN conference, which is produced by Vendome Group, LLC.

Like the Academy, The Center for Health Design and Vendome are both focused on building bridges between people and organizations to create an understanding of how the design of healthcare environments contributes to the quality of healthcare. Through this new affiliation, the industry in general will benefit from an expanded multitrack and multidisciplinary learning event, making the choice of which fall conference to attend even easier. All of the familiar staples from the Academy meeting, such as the charrette forums and fellowship presentations, will still be available. We hope you will choose to join us for HEALTHCARE DESIGN.07 next year on November 3–6 in Dallas.

It's been a very busy few months for The Center for Health Design, but we feel that we will enter 2007 as a stronger, more complete organization, infused with wonderful new volunteers and partners.

Now, you'll still need to choose what to buy for all your friends and family for the holidays, but when it comes to where to go for one-stop shopping for all of your healthcare design research and education needs, the answer is easy: http://www.healthdesign.org.

We wish you all a happy holiday season and a joyful and healthy New Year. HD

The Center for Health Design is located in Concord, California.

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It's been a very busy few months for The Center for Health Design, but we feel that we will enter 2007 as a stronger, more complete organization, infused with wonderful new volunteers and partners.