As we bid farewell to 2016 and get ready to welcome in the New Year, there’s much in the past 12 months to reflect on—for our country, our industry, and The Center for Health Design.

Last month we elected a
new president in what seemed to be the most contentious and anomalous race in my history as a voter. Time will give us perspective on the experience, and historians will no doubt be studying this race and what it’s meant to our country for years to come. Hopefully, as we move forward, we can begin to build a solid foundation on what we have in common rather than focus on where we diverge.

In our industry, we saw the growth of a new trend: micro hospitals. These projects are popping up in fast-growing urban and suburban markets where the need for health services is emerging faster than health systems can provide them. These facilities offer all of the comprehensive emergency services of a large hospital but with fewer inpatient beds, allowing providers to offer access to quality healthcare at a substantially lower cost than building a more traditional hospital.

The Zika virus became a global public health emergency and made its way to the U.S., prompting healthcare and design professionals here to start to look at the impact the virus could have in our communities.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his physician wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged $3 billion to medical research to “cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century,” making our industry’s increasing focus on creating wellness spaces more relevant than ever.

The Environments for Aging Expo & Conference (produced by Healthcare Design’s parent company, Emerald Expositions, and The Center for Health Design) had its largest attendance to date, with close to 1,000 industry professionals gathering in Austin, Texas, in April to explore new models of senior housing and care and share innovative ideas on how the built environment can promote healthy and active aging.

The Center launched the new Affiliate+ program as part of an overall website redesign. The new website made it easier to find tools and resources that connect health and operational outcomes to design strategies, and the new Affiliate+ program brought the addition of a variety of new tools and resources. The Center’s website saw an increase of 11 percent in usage since the launch.

The Pebble Program expanded its international presence with two new Pebble Partners joining the program from outside the United States, one in Singapore and another in Australia.

The Center also launched nine new Hot Topic toolboxes on subjects ranging from clinic design to the impact of aging. Each toolbox includes a variety of resources, from in-depth literature reviews to blog postings and partner project case studies on new and interesting developments in our industry.

And in case you missed it, the first ever flower was grown in space this year, a zinnia aboard the International Space Station. It’s good to know that once we start to design intergalactic hospitals, we’ll still be able to have healing gardens.

I wish you all a happy holiday season, good health, and great adventures in 2017.

Debra Levin is president and CEO of The Center for Health Design. She can be reached at