Debra Levin, EDAC
President and CEO, The Center for Health Design
As President and CEO of The Center for Health Design, Debra Levin is, and has been, responsible for the vision, direction, and funding support of The Center. As the leader of the organization, she is a visionary who truly understands the industry and is able to put the right people and processes together at the right time. Additionally, she is an industry advocate and thought leader.
Thousands of healthcare and design professionals turn to the resources of The Center for Health Design for research and education. For many new to the industry, it is the entry point into connecting the latest research to positive outcomes, both financially as well as economically. Levin is at the forefront of new ideas, trends, and research, and she often connects people and organizations with each other so that everyone can benefit.
The Center, under Levin’s leadership, continues to galvanize the healthcare industry and elevates the role that the physical environment plays in improving the overall healthcare industry in this country, and eventually in other countries, as well. It is her passion for this work, her leadership skills, and her vision for the industry that have helped to drive her success over two decades. Because of her continued insights, energy, and love of the profession, she is truly one of the most influential people in the healthcare design industry.
Todd Hutlock: How have you seen the healthcare design community evolve since the beginning of your career?
Debra Levin, EDAC: Almost 23 years ago when I started working in this industry, there was no central gathering place for likeminded people to meet or a central repository for information or ideas to be shared. There were many people practicing healthcare design, but they were spread out and most were disconnected from others outside their specific geographic area or discipline. For me, one of the most satisfying things has been to watch how over the last two decades, a strong and united voice has risen from the healthcare design profession, a voice that is multidisciplined and growing stronger and more academic every year.
Another significant change has been in the products being designed for use in healthcare settings. Twenty years ago there was very little to choose from that wasn’t institutional in its aesthetic. It was difficult to improve the level of aesthetic creativity because there was not much of a palette to work with. The focus was on improving workflow, productivity, and building layout -- all still very important -- but the creativity stopped there because the product didn’t exist to execute equally creative aesthetic solutions. Now, as I walk through the exhibit hall floor each year at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN conference, I am blown away by not just the immense scale of options out there, but also the level of creativity and design that went into the development of these products. I truly believe that this change started because we created an annual conference that encouraged conversations between product manufacturers and healthcare and design professionals that allowed them to each share their wants, needs, and frustrations around the current status quo.