“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This quote defines the will of a community of changemakers attracted to The Center for Health Design's work. A research and advocacy organization whose mission is to improve the environment in which healthcare is delivered, The Center is made up of an ever-growing community of diverse yet connected innovators. These innovators understand the magnitude of change needed to improve patient, organizational, and economic outcomes within healthcare institutions by creating environments that support cultural and operational protocols that are effective, safe, efficient, timely, patient-centered, and equitable. The Center provides a platform through which these new models are explored, shared, and developed in a risk-adverse manner through the use of a process we have defined as evidence-based design.

With that as a backdrop, each year an individual emerges as outstanding in this remarkable community. We so note and celebrate this individual as a true “changemaker” at the annual HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference. This person truly has the wisdom to know which actions will evoke profound change, as well as the courage to take action. This is a tall order for those involved in the development and design of healthcare facilities, since construction is costly and a facility must endure at least 30 to 40 years. Therefore, change often comes as a team effort and is ever so incremental in nature. But every now and then an individual breaks through our self-imposed ceilings and pushes us into a new realm of performance. These are the individuals The Center recognizes with our annual Changemaker Award.

The 2005 recipient is one such person. Robin Guenther, AIA, LEED AP, president of Guenther 5 Architects in New York City, is a pioneer who defied the odds. She persisted and pioneered green/sustainable design for the healthcare industry, which has had difficulty qualifying for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification. Robin is a leader in the movement to adjust those noninstitutional requirements through the development of the Green Guide for Health Care. It is through this changemaking that the sustainable door will open for many other project leaders who want to do the right thing, but have otherwise been beaten down by a system that did not account for an environment that cared for the sick. Robin is also an active member of The Center's Environmental Standards Council, a group that works with healthcare regulatory and policy-making agencies to ensure they are current with The Center's research findings.

We congratulate Robin Guenther, The Center for Health Design's 2005 Changemaker!

In addition to this award, we are pleased to announce that in 2005, we added ten provider partners and three corporate partners to our Pebble Project research initiative. These are organizations that are led by individuals who have the courage to create change for the better in the healthcare industry, and are also incredibly generous to contribute their findings and knowledge to a larger community.

Continuing in the category of change, Maureen Bisognano, chief operating officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has stepped down from her post as a board member at The Center. Maureen, a valuable member in the advancement of our Pebble Project field study research, will be missed. We will, however, maintain close ties and continue to share changemaking ideas with Maureen and IHI. Craig Zimring, PhD, an environmental psychologist from the Georgia Institute of Technology, has filled Maureen's vacant spot. Craig brings added depth to our research-based thinking as a changemaking organization. He has been an active consultant to The Center for many of our Pebble Project partners and other research efforts. We look forward to being guided by his wisdom.

So as you see, we are an ever-changing organization filled with individuals and institutions wise enough to research the most effective method to move the healthcare industry forward. Please join us in our quest to improve the environment of care. Do you have the courage to change? HD

The Center for Health Design is located in Concord, California.