“For of those to whom much is given, much is required!” —Luke 12:48, as paraphrased by John F. Kennedy
I generally do not quote scripture, but I believe very strongly in this philosophy. I wrote it down some time ago and keep it on my desk as a reminder of my responsibility in life, although I never knew who the author was. As I began to write this piece I thought I'd find out, so I Googled it and found that it came from a speech by John F. Kennedy during his presidency, in which he quoted from the book of Luke.
It is an appropriate opening for the award we bestow upon an individual who has led the healthcare industry to change in the way we build and use facilities to achieve improved outcomes. The Changemaker Award, as it is so aptly titled, is just that, an award that we give each year at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN conference to a visionary in the healthcare design industry.
Past Changemaker Award winners include Robin Orr, one of the original directors of Planetree; healthcare futurist Leland Kaiser; Bill Thomas, the founder of the Eden Alternative; designer and author Cynthia Liebrock; nurse executive Ann Hendrich; the late Russell J. Coile, one of the early champions of our ideas; and architect and green-design advocate Robin Guenther.
Last November, we proudly bestowed the 2006 Changemaker Award to Frank Sardone, president and CEO of Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In December 2000 under Frank's leadership, Bronson completed a $210 million campus redevelopment project. The project went on to change a community's neighborhood and an institution's culture and to create a design methodology that required accountability. To that end, under Frank's leadership Bronson signed on to become one of the first facilities to agree to measure how the design of the facility improved outcomes and share those data with the entire industry, becoming an early Pebble Project.
I can remember those early Pebble meetings in which we discussed ways to change how we looked at the design of a facility and how that design could be held accountable for better outcomes. It was the leadership during that period that launched a successful national field study project. That project now has some 40 facilities participating in a design methodology that has come to be expected by most hospital leaders—evidence-based design.
Bronson was one of the first facilities in the country to build with all private rooms but, more importantly, it was Frank's leadership that allowed researchers to measure the results of that action. Those measures showed a reduction in nosocomial infections, improved patient satisfaction scores, fewer staff injuries, and a market share improvement not typical in the industry. Under Frank's leadership, the business case was made for these design improvements, linking an extra expenditure to the operational savings typically recouped in the new facility's first year of operation. These data supported a national debate and became a major influence for the new AIA Guidelines, which now call for private rooms in new construction.
Bronson has been recognized not only for the new facility, but also for excellence in patient care, cultural excellence, and the quality of its workforce. While Frank will tell you it is a team effort, none of this would have been possible without visionary leadership. Bronson continues to be recognized for its cutting-edge methodologies and in 2005 won the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, which was established by Congress in 1987 to reward organizational performance excellence.
Frank won the Michigan American College of Healthcare Executives' Regents Young Healthcare Leader Award in 1996 and has served on the boards of numerous professional organizations, including The Center for Health Design, Center for Healthcare Governance, Michigan Hospital Association, and the Michigan Association Insurance Company, as well as the editorial board of HEALTHCARE DESIGN.
If you know Frank or any of our previous Changemaker recipients, then you know that they are blessed with intelligence and warm hearts. It is in those qualities that they take what they have been given and return it to our industry in an enlightened way. On behalf of The Center for Health Design's Board of Directors, staff, and Affiliates, and for all of us who feel strongly about this industry we say thank you to our Changemakers—“for of those to whom much is given, much is required”—because they delivered! HD