It's hard to believe that we are almost a third of the way through 2007 and that 2006 is falling further behind us. I hope that the year is treating you well so far and your resolutions are holding up. Here at The Center, we have resolved to make this year our greatest yet–a tall order, given that 2006 proved to be one of the most exciting years in our 19-year history.

Last month, I returned from the Hospital Design & Upgrade Conference in Dubai, where Center Board Chair Roz Cama and I gave the keynote address on evidence-based design. Afterward, we talked with participants from the Middle East, Europe, India, and beyond. The response to the work and level of excitement the conference generated reminded me of what it was like when we first started talking about evidence-based design in the United States almost seven years ago. Taking the message overseas would not be possible had we not made such great strides here at home.

As The Center embarks on its 20th year of exceptional service to the healthcare and design industries, it seems fitting to reflect on the people and projects of 2006. Our phenomenal and tireless board of directors, our dedicated staff, and the growing membership in our Community of Affiliates and Pebble Project research initiative all contributed greatly to our success.

Last year, we welcomed four new full- and two part-time staff members to The Center, bringing our total staff size to 12. Our rapid growth meant that we required a lot more space, and after several months of construction, we have just opened our expanded headquarters. Thanks to Lees Carpets, Steelcase, Accents in Water, and Henry Domke for helping to furnish our new space, which is now over three times its previous size and boasts a new library and conference room. The Center also received accreditation from Contra Costa County as a Green Business, which I am personally very proud of.

For years, we have sent experts out into the field to talk about evidence-based design. Last year, we launched our Educational Consulting services, formally creating a program to provide additional learning opportunities through workshops, seminars, and CEU courses.

The ripple in healthcare grew as we added nine new Pebble Project partners and 88 new Affiliate members in 2006, bringing the total number of active pebbles to 41 and total number of individuals/organizations in our Community of Affiliates to 300.

Through Health Administration Press, The Center published a book, Improving Healthcare with Better Building Design, edited by our Executive Vice-President Sara O. Marberry and featuring contributions by Center board members and others.

The AIA updated its Guidelines for Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities, including the “Environment of Care” recommendations prepared by our Environmental Standards Council. The Guidelines also called for single-bed patient rooms guidelines, which we have been advocating for the last several years.

We continue to be grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for providing grant money to fund several key projects that will make a difference in the quality of healthcare–including a set of papers and conference on environmental responsibility, a series of Learning Tools, and the Evidence-based Design Assessment & Certification (EDAC) program.

As the year rolls along, we are taking steps to position ourselves for long-term success and are already enjoying a great 2007. We are passionate about ensuring that the needs of patients, their families, and caregivers are the driving force behind our work. More than ever, I cherish the relationships we build with our affiliates, partners, volunteers, and employees, and appreciate the confidence they place in us.

Things to look for in the coming months include:

  • Publication of A Visual Reference for Evidence-Based Design

  • The Environments for Aging Conference, April 23-24, Baltimore

  • Launch of EDAC

  • Introduction of online facility tours

Later this month, Vendome (publishers of HEALTHCARE DESIGN) will debut Clean Design and Operations, a new publication launched in conjunction with The Center, Health Care Without Harm, and Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

If you've resolved to read and learn more this year, there is plenty to keep you busy in this issue of Healthcare Design and on The Center's Web site. For updates on our latest projects, please visit HD