The culmination of creating a more tightly knit community and the influx of new products combined with the innate passion and creativity of this those in the healthcare design profession has lead to a significant rethinking of what a healthcare project might look like. It’s been really interesting to track the projects submitted each year for the annual HEALTHCARE DESIGN Architectural and Interior Design Showcase edition and to see how the bar for the level of creativity and innovation has risen over the years. It’s really satisfying to look back at some of the original issues and to see how far we’ve come and to know that the results of this level of creativity are better outcomes and more positive experiences for patients, families, and staff.
Hutlock: You’ve been an influential figure in the field for a number of years now – who do you think are going to be tomorrow’s most influential people in healthcare design?
Levin: I get really excited when I have the chance to talk to students. Their passion, curiosity and level of commitment is extraordinary. I’m especially intrigued by those coming out of programs that are transdisciplinary, where architecture and design students are in class and working through project solutions alongside students from the schools of nursing, medicine, and public health. I also see people coming out of healthcare design programs with a much stronger background in research. These students will create an entirely new paradigm around how to attack a design problem, and this will have a significant impact on the industry in the decades to come.
Hutlock: Is there a single career accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Levin: I think I am most proud of what The Center has become over the last ten years and the people who have gravitated to it. Not only the passionate and intelligent staff I get to work with every day, but the people who volunteer so much of their time to serve on our Board and all of our committees and councils. They are really the heart and soul of this organization and its successes. I’ve always had a burning passion around our work and have felt it a true privilege to have had the opportunity to dedicate my career to its mission, but to see so many others with that spark in their eye and fire in their bellies and to watch The Center grow to what it is today, that fills me with great pride.
Hutlock: Is there a single career accomplishment that you absolutely will not rest until you see achieved?
Levin: I think the needs of this growing profession will long outlast the few decades I have left in my career. What we do is like an onion; you learn something new and peel away one layer and there’s another and another and another set of issues left to explore and understand. This is especially true because of the growing definition of what a “healthcare” environment is. As healthcare shifts from the acute care setting to the ambulatory care setting to the home environment, new models of care will continue to pop up and with them, developing new design solutions to support these new models will continue to challenge our profession. To me that’s really exciting. Staying in one place too long causes a sense of complacency that is the enemy of creativity.
It’s great that we continue to be challenged and even better that we will continue to be a part of solutions that will improve the quality of people’s lives. I frequently tell my staff that they should feel very proud that the work they do every day impacts the lives of millions of people they will never get to meet but who will have a significantly better experience during what might be one of the darkest times of their lives. That’s a pretty powerful opportunity that not too many people get to have through their work.