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 new Shriners For Children Medical Center outpatient clinic under construction in Pasadena, Calif., takes the idea of “access to nature” to a whole new level by providing connections to the outdoors in quantities almost equal to the programmed clinical space.

“We know from evidence-based design that access to nature is a contributor to wellbeing and its effects are amplified when connected to the healing and rehabilitation process,” says Fabian Kremkus, design principal at CO Architects (Los Angeles), which was the design architect on the project in conjunction with executive architect SRG Partnership (Portland, Ore). “We hope there will be a synergy between the care provider and patient experiencing the different outdoor spaces together during the rehabilitation and clinic visits."

Opening at the end of 2016, the 75,000-square-foot-building will house pediatric orthopedic care services with 60,000 square feet of accessible garden space spread across three levels, including on-grade gardens, outdoor balconies, and a rooftop terrace.

For example, recognizing that family members of all ages will face long periods of waiting while young patients undergo surgeries and rehabilitation appointments, the outdoor courtyard is designed with a variety of places to sit, including semi-shaded areas near a water wall feature. The first floor lobby and clinic waiting area also have views to the garden as well as an enclosed play area.

“It’s not just for the welfare of the children and their parents but also what’s good for the staff,” Kremkus says.

Anne DiNardo is senior editor of Environments for Aging. She can be reached at