The effort to promote and support population health and wellness has few rivals in its influence on healthcare today, inspiring the planning, design, and construction community to create environments that help providers deliver on that mission. The solutions being brought to the table vary widely, though, each in its own way answering the call. Healthcare Design asked industry members how wellness is being defined in their work—and they showed us. In this special report, "All Is Well," (to be published in the May 2016 issue of the magazine and in installments online in April and May), find a sampling of the myriad innovative and inspiring approaches being taken.
The MetroHealth system in Cleveland has served the community as a safety-net hospital for more than 175 years. But a new mission is now guiding its evolution: “leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community.” 

To achieve that vision, the organization is undergoing a campus transformation. Currently, many of the main campus facilities are inefficient and don’t support modern healthcare delivery. As such, MetroHealth has a plan to rebuild in place, recognizing the longstanding importance of its location in Cleveland.

The transformation is expected to be a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization and economic development along the urban corridor. This is as important to the health and wellness of the community as a new facility will be. In a neighborhood that has historically been perceived as unsafe—and underinvested in—physical changes at MetroHealth will extend to an investment in the corridor and neighborhood.

The project includes a new hospital on the main campus, new and renovated community-based health centers, and further expansion of community partnerships to best serve the people of Cleveland in the places where they live, work, and play. The project will be phased over the course of the next several years. HKS Architects, Osborn Engineering, and Gilbane Construction make up the executive design team. The first phase, an expansion of an existing critical care pavilion, will open this summer with 85 new ICU beds. The remaining campus projects are expected to be mostly complete by 2020.

Recognizing that the project stands to spur economic opportunity in the area, MetroHealth began the planning process by hosting a community engagement meeting to gather feedback on how the campus could better support the goals and vision of the surrounding neighborhood. Ideas from residents included employee housing, safe parks and sidewalks, and better access to transportation.

As the project evolves, key to the plan is how open space on the campus connects to the community. Through park-like areas (currently lacking in the adjacent neighborhood) and new roads and sidewalks, the future campus will be more pedestrian-friendly.

The wellness of a community goes beyond the health of a community, taking into consideration the physical, social, and mental potential of individuals; as the National Wellness Institute states, it’s a “conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving full potential.” While the core of the MetroHealth project is building a new hospital, the ripple effects of economic development in the neighborhood will influence the well-being of individuals. New businesses in the neighborhood will support new job opportunities, which could expand transit options. Working with the local transit authority, the project team will consider how a new transit hub at the front door will be a welcoming experience for patients and visitors.—Lindsey Wilke and Shannon Kraus, HKS Inc.