Healthcare interior designers have always been a special bunch. Face it: anyone inspired by bleach-cleanable, antifungal, flame-retardant, antimicrobial, low-VOC building products has to be a bit different, and they are. In the year 2003, five visionary healthcare architects and interior designers decided that recognition of this “difference” mattered to the industry, to the hospitals and clients who commission interior designers, and to the advancement of this unique specialty.
AAHID, The American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers, was officially formed in June of 2005. It is modeled after ACHA (the American College of Healthcare Architects), mentored by NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification), and supported by generous contributions from industry partners. Dan Lee AAHID, AIA, ASID, IIDA, the first president of AAHID describes the creation of this organization as one of necessity: “The convergence of healthcare markets, challenges, and trends makes it more important than ever that every professional involved with a healthcare facility bring a depth of experience and qualifications to his or her area of expertise. This is especially true in healthcare interior design, increasingly recognized as a distinct, certifiable field.”
Today, with 91 board-certified interior designers, AAHID is recognized as the advanced certification for healthcare interior design. Additionally, 28% of these specialists hold ASID accreditation. These credentialed professionals are distinct from other specialties in their experience and expertise in healthcare interior design. The board-certified healthcare designer is held to the highest possible standard for safety, infection control, patient welfare, codes compliance, and thoroughly researched design solutions.
On a personal note, what draws me to this accomplished group and their alliance with The Center for Health Design and evidence-based design was that they don't assume to know everything about healthcare design. Instead they continually challenge their best work with the question: Can we measure and prove what we think we know to be true? The process then becomes one in which a design approach is research supported and the information shared.