Name: Tama Duffy Day

Award: Most Influential People in Healthcare Design, 2012

Then: Principal, global market sector leader for healthcare interior design, Perkins + Will (Washington, D.C.)

Now: Principal, firm-wide health and wellness practice area leader, Gensler (Chicago)

What she’s been up to: Led the programming and strategy of four federally qualified health centers in the Washington, D.C. area; honored with the Designer of Distinction Award from the American Society of Interior Designers; and joined the Advisory Board of the CARITAS Project, a group focused on the development of strategies and technologies to produce generative healthcare environments.

What’s one thing about the evolving healthcare design landscape that excites you?

The healthcare landscape is expanding beyond the field of healthcare to address the larger importance of being healthy, moving from a focus on the hospital bed to the broader continuum of care.

What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the interior design of healthcare spaces since you won your award, and how has it affected what you do?

Clients are embracing our strengths in creating user experiences—beyond elevations and perspectives to mapping emotions and analyzing the immaterial. With our client at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, we mapped patient journeys through the use of avatars. This was extremely successful in identifying ways to improve the patient’s emotional journey but also clarified for the healthcare providers where critical operational components, including communication, support, and security, were needed.

What’s on your radar screen in 2016?

In academic research, we’re investigating the next frontiers in senior housing and establishing real estate opportunities for the abandoned hospital, or the “hospital left behind.” With our team members we’re eagerly awaiting the opening of the new research hospital, the Ability Institute of RIC in Chicago, a 1.2 million-square-foot research hospital that will unite research and clinical care. Personally, I’m continually seeking cultural understanding; previously this included learnings from behind an Abaya in the Middle East and through the lens of the residents in the poorest and most crime-ridden section of Ward 8 in Washington, D.C. Next up is envisioning healthy futures for Detroit and seeking cultural alignment on an innovative hospital in Bangkok.

For more Q+As with past recipients of Healthcare Design’s professional awards programs, check out "Master Class."