The Center for Health Design has transitioned from a board-run to a staff-run organization. Debra Levin, our CEO and President, and her astute management team in the last few years have built a competent and diverse team of employees. This transition has led to much organizational change and has kept the board busy with the task of instituting an infrastructure with tight policies and guidelines that allow for strict accountability with checks and balances. In so doing the board of directors has finally concluded that much of its hands-on work is complete and has established term limits for its directors, a few of whom have been with The Center for Health Design since its inception. To that end, in this last nominating cycle the board also voted to reduce its size. It is a healthy transition as the day-to-day work is handed off to staff and the nimble direction gathered from a rotating but balanced body of volunteers brings an interdisciplinary perspective and direction to The Center's mission.

This term we solemnly say goodbye to three board members who have made tremendous contributions to The Center's and our industry's progress. They are Blair Sadler, Ann Hendrich, and Ian Morrison.

Blair Sadler
Blair Sadler

Blair Sadler has been on The Center's Board since 1995. At that time The Center had made great inroads with the architectural and design community through the Symposium for Health Design, which was a great success but was missing our most important audience, the decision maker for the billions of dollars being spent on healthcare facilities. I specifically remember a board meeting where Blair Sadler, Derek Parker, and the late Russ Coile led a flip chart discussion about how to revolutionize the way we carried our evidence-based message to the board table while building a rather small database of qualified research (so noted in the landmark 1998 Johns Hopkins Report). It was at that meeting that “The Pebble Project” was born. It was The Pebble Project that made evidence-based design a hospital term, but it was the subsequent “Business Case” that made it a hospital boardroom term. Blair was at the center of all of those innovations in our organization's developmental history and authored, with others, many of the papers that established the base of knowledge we now draw from and continue to build upon. Blair brought to The Center's board table an operational understanding of what it took to run a hospital and more importantly what it took to justify the cost needed to approve those design interventions linked to necessary outcomes. Blair's leadership as vice-chair and availability as a spokesperson for our cause has made its mark on who we are as an organization. Blair now retired as CEO of Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, will continue his work as a senior fellow with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and celebrate the release of his new book

Transforming the Health Care Experience through the Arts.

“It has been a joy and a privilege to serve on the Board of The Center for the past 15 years. It is a remarkable organization with an exceptional board and a talented staff, all working towards a common goal-to help make the environments in which we provide and receive care actual healing places. I wish The Center continued success and hope that, someday, every hospital will provide environments that actually help people recover and achieve their full potential”.

Blair Sadler

Ann Hendrich
Ann Hendrich

Ann Hendrich came into The Center's family as a champion for the Clarian Methodist Hospital's Pebble Project. To say she impressed the board with her insight as a clinician would only be paled by our awe for her raw understanding of clinical workplace performance. Ann is a researcher by passion, a nurse by training, and is driven by a strong personal mission to improve health outcomes by systematically revolutionizing how care is delivered using an evidence-based approach. In 2003 we awarded Ann with the highest honor The Center bestows-The Changemaker Award. Shortly thereafter we asked Ann to join the Board of Directors and help shape our focus on a balanced discussion of patient, family, and staff related issues. Ann moved to Ascension Health to lead clinical excellence. She along with Marilyn Chow published a landmark

Time and Motion study on nursing work patterns that has and will continue to inform the much-needed redesign of medical support areas. Ann is working on her PhD dissertation on healthcare outcomes and performance management and will continue to contribute to the industry as only she can.

“I have benefited greatly from the gifts and talent of The Center and enjoyed serving in this capacity. The work of The Center will continue to have significant impact on safe, effective environmental designs for caregivers, patients, and their families.”

Ann Hendrich

Ian Morrison
Ian Morrison

Ian Morrison was appointed to the board to fill the beloved seat of Futurist Russ Coile. It became evident that there is a magical profession known as “Futurist” made up of very bright, insightful, and witty chaps. If you heard Ian's keynote speech at HealthCARE Design.06 conference then you know exactly what I mean by very bright, insightful, and witty all packaged nicely with a beautiful Scottish brogue. Ian brought added value to The Center's Board with a vast knowledge about running a nonprofit and pitched in to help refine and progress our operational protocols. Ian has spoken and written much on the topic of evidence-based design (including a poignant essay in my book) and will take with him, as he focuses on his consulting, an evidence-based design perspective that includes an outcome-driven approach to reshaping our health system.

“I am extremely proud to have served on The Center's Board during an important time of transformation in American healthcare, and in The Center's role and structure. The work of The Center is very important: healthcare leaders must make enormous bets on the built environment of healthcare delivery, and in the past many of the bets were laid in a haphazard way without much evidence of how those environments affected the safety, quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of patient care. The Center has helped foster a movement to help guide leaders to create healthcare environments that are better in many, many ways for patients, providers, and society as a whole. The Center leads the field to higher healthcare design performance. It has become a full functioning, sustainable institution through the hard work and dedication of its superlative board and staff: a wonderful dedicated interdisciplinary group of leaders. The Center looks forward to a bright future, and it reflects back on the great debt it owes to its original pioneers who through their vision and sacrifice created a new field.”

Ian Morrison

So the makeup changes at our board table. With our new term limits we will continue to evolve, finding new and continually different perspectives that broaden our reach and help fulfill our mission with great debate and wisdom. Losing Blair, Ann, and Ian is only a small issue of semantics because they will forever be in our family of resources.

Thank you Blair, Ann, and Ian for your amazing service contribution and friendship. We will miss you at table and wish you all the very best in your ventures and our intersecting cause.

Godspeed. HD

Rosalyn Cama, FASID, EDAC, is Board Chair for The Center for Health Design located in Concord, California.

For more information, visit, www.health design.org.

Healthcare Design 2010 March;10(3):12-14