Contract - Designing for Health: Bridging the Gap: Design, Research, and Education

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Designing for Health: Bridging the Gap: Design, Research, and Education

04 October, 2013

-By Tama Duffy Day, Jamie Huffcut


There is a movement within the architecture and design community towards data-driven decisions resulting in innovation in cost-savings, environmental stewardship, and overall user health.  The significance of the movement can be seen in the growth of organizations and universities studying and publishing the effects of the built environment.  In addition, architectural and engineering firms are joining in, seeking to answer questions on how to successfully integrate research into the design process.  

Perkins+Will has been driving innovation in design since its inception by founders Lawrence Perkins and Philip Will in 1935.  Their most notable pioneering project during the firm’s early years, a partnership with Eliel and Eero Saarinen, was the Crow Island School located in Winnetka, Illinois.  The design team, through design thinking and investigation, created a school which supported progressive teaching techniques in a landmark building.  The school was the first of its type to be zoned by age group with access to nature through dedicated outdoor courtyards for study and play.  Decades after the project completion, Evidence-Based Design (EBD) quantifiably supports access to natural daylight for overall health, and improved performance and better attendance at school.

The complicated challenges pertaining to the built environment today require interdisciplinary investigation between professionals, enterprise, academia and non-profits. When given the right platform, these teams can examine and share the effects of the built environment on the health of the individual, the health of the community, and the health of the environment.  One such platform is AREA: the non-profit research arm of Perkins+Will, an acronym standing for Advance Research Expand Apply.

In the years since the Crow Island School project, Perkins+Will has used research and EBD to assist clients with adapting to changing technology, improving operational flow, increasing efficiency, generating material manifestation of their mission, and creating spaces that heal.  The Perkins+Will Precautionary List of harmful chemicals found in common construction materials, and the Perkins+Will Research Journal, published since 2009, represent two ways the firm informally conducted research.  With the establishment of AREA, employees, private sector, universities and non-profit organizations can join in collective research investigations to add to the general body of knowledge.  AREA is not alone in this endeavor; The Center for Health Design, The National Academy of Environmental Design and The Environmental Design and Research Association, just to name a few, also aim to support cross-sector design research.

To date, AREA, has conducted a variety of research studies from pre- and post-occupancy evaluations to simulation studies with universities such as the University of Illinois, Georgia Tech, and Texas A&M University, enterprises such as Forrest City and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and non-profits that range from large health systems such as Children’s National Medical Center and Halifax Medical Center to advocacy groups including the National Academy of Environmental Design (NAED).
 
Regardless of the research project, health is always central.  Perkins+Will joined with Halifax Medical Center in a study on emergency department efficiency related to modular design and event thinking.  Along with a group of facility staff, the design team undertook a meticulous participatory research process of big-picture visioning, looking for an ideal process for all operational scenarios within the emergency department, the results directly informing final design solutions. The facility serves the Daytona 500 neighborhood and experiences large fluctuations in population and potential severe injuries.  The strategy to build a better emergency room included: (1) utilizing acuity adaptable rooms for flexibility and adaptability in patient trauma levels, (2) strategically organizing 12 universal treatment rooms into a repetitive module with improved staff sight-lines and (3) designating secondary treatment areas for rapid evaluation keeping treatment rooms open for higher acuity patients.

In 2011, research was completed on the topic of positive distraction in pediatric clinics.  Perkins+Will worked with staff from a pediatric outpatient facility to study distraction techniques for patients ranging from infants to adolescents.  It was hypothesized that the typical pediatric environment of primary color and child-like imagery would be less appealing for adolescent patients, who would require different positive distraction techniques.  Thirty-six clinicians participated in questionnaires on distraction techniques and responses confirmed patterning, windows, color and art were utilized more often for patients between two and six years of age while talking was employed universally across age ranges and breathing techniques were employed for the oldest of the patient population.

In the pursuit of progress, Perkins+Will along with Cannon Design, EwingCole, HOK and Perkins Eastman will join the Environmental Design Research Association’s (EDRA) Inaugural Fall Symposium at the New York School of Interior Design on October 11, 2013, bringing together students, professionals, policy-makers and academics discussing translational research and Accountable Care.  EDRA’s Board of Directors Chair, Dr. Rula Awwad-Rafferty noted, “The Accountable Care Symposium is an excellent opportunity to explore human-focused translational research in action, in a significant time where it can effectively chart many paths for the present and the future.”  With the momentous shift in healthcare from treating sickness to promoting wellness, research-based design has a great opportunity to shape the physical space of healthcare delivery in a new, and improved manner.

What open research forums like the EDRA Symposium, AREA and others can add to the architecture and design industry is an opportunity to distinguish the profession, improve design work, and enhance the lives of building occupants.  The success of healthcare delivery relies on embracing the concept of wellness. In parallel, the future of healthcare design depends upon embracing research and informed-decision making.  By breaking out of traditional roles interior designers, architects, planners, researchers, academics, students and policy-makers can become a vehicle for testing and improving the health of the individual and the medical community at large.


Sources:
AREA Research www.arearesearch.org

Center for Health Design www.healthdesign.org

Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) www.edra.org

EDRA Landscape of Accountable Care Symposium Link
https://netforum.avectra.com/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=EDRA&WebCode=EventDetail&evt_key=b0e96033-04ad-478e-84fa-a1626b51f4c9

Herring, R. & Williams, M. (2009). "Clinical Processes Informing the Design of the Emergency Department". Perkins+Will Research Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 74-82.   www.perkinswill.com/files/PWRJ_Vol0102.pdf

Pasha, S., Huffcut, J. & Day, T. (2012). “Positive Distraction and Age Differences: Design Implications for Pediatric Healthcare Environments”. Perkins+Will Research Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 13-22.    http://www.perkinswill.com/research/positive-distraction-and-age-differences-design-implications-for-pediatric-healthcare-envir

Perkins+Will Transparency Website http://transparency.perkinswill.com

Plympton, Conway & Epstein (2000). “Daylighting in Schools: Improving Student Performance and Health”. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Pre-Publication Presented at the American Solar Energy Society Conference. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/28049.pdf

National Academy of Environmental Design www.naedonline.org

Bio:
Tama Duffy Day, FIIDA, FASID, LEED AP BD+C, is a Principal in the Washington, D.C., office of Perkins+Will.  A member of the AREA steering committee, Tama has persistently been focused on determining the measurable effects that the physical and social environments have on human health. Throughout her 30 year career, her work and writings have been published consistently and continuously in peer reviewed academic journals and design journals alike, most recently in The Journal of Health Administration Education and the Health Environments Research & Design Journal (HERD). She can be reached at Tama.DuffyDay@perkinswill.com

Jamie Huffcut, LEED AP ID+C, EDAC, is a Project Interior Designer in Washington, D.C., with a focus on research and planning. Jamie received a Master’s Degree in Interior Design, specializing in evidence-based design interventions. Her Master’s thesis concentrated on improving quality in the built environment and has been published in both Healthcare Design Magazine and Behavioral Health Magazine.  Jamie continually shares knowledge through publication and speaking. Throughout 2012 and 2013, Jamie will be speaking on clinic design at national conferences with the Center for Health Design and funded by the Kresge Foundation.




Designing for Health: Bridging the Gap: Design, Research, and Education

04 October, 2013


There is a movement within the architecture and design community towards data-driven decisions resulting in innovation in cost-savings, environmental stewardship, and overall user health.  The significance of the movement can be seen in the growth of organizations and universities studying and publishing the effects of the built environment.  In addition, architectural and engineering firms are joining in, seeking to answer questions on how to successfully integrate research into the design process.  

Perkins+Will has been driving innovation in design since its inception by founders Lawrence Perkins and Philip Will in 1935.  Their most notable pioneering project during the firm’s early years, a partnership with Eliel and Eero Saarinen, was the Crow Island School located in Winnetka, Illinois.  The design team, through design thinking and investigation, created a school which supported progressive teaching techniques in a landmark building.  The school was the first of its type to be zoned by age group with access to nature through dedicated outdoor courtyards for study and play.  Decades after the project completion, Evidence-Based Design (EBD) quantifiably supports access to natural daylight for overall health, and improved performance and better attendance at school.

The complicated challenges pertaining to the built environment today require interdisciplinary investigation between professionals, enterprise, academia and non-profits. When given the right platform, these teams can examine and share the effects of the built environment on the health of the individual, the health of the community, and the health of the environment.  One such platform is AREA: the non-profit research arm of Perkins+Will, an acronym standing for Advance Research Expand Apply.

In the years since the Crow Island School project, Perkins+Will has used research and EBD to assist clients with adapting to changing technology, improving operational flow, increasing efficiency, generating material manifestation of their mission, and creating spaces that heal.  The Perkins+Will Precautionary List of harmful chemicals found in common construction materials, and the Perkins+Will Research Journal, published since 2009, represent two ways the firm informally conducted research.  With the establishment of AREA, employees, private sector, universities and non-profit organizations can join in collective research investigations to add to the general body of knowledge.  AREA is not alone in this endeavor; The Center for Health Design, The National Academy of Environmental Design and The Environmental Design and Research Association, just to name a few, also aim to support cross-sector design research.

To date, AREA, has conducted a variety of research studies from pre- and post-occupancy evaluations to simulation studies with universities such as the University of Illinois, Georgia Tech, and Texas A&M University, enterprises such as Forrest City and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and non-profits that range from large health systems such as Children’s National Medical Center and Halifax Medical Center to advocacy groups including the National Academy of Environmental Design (NAED).
 
Regardless of the research project, health is always central.  Perkins+Will joined with Halifax Medical Center in a study on emergency department efficiency related to modular design and event thinking.  Along with a group of facility staff, the design team undertook a meticulous participatory research process of big-picture visioning, looking for an ideal process for all operational scenarios within the emergency department, the results directly informing final design solutions. The facility serves the Daytona 500 neighborhood and experiences large fluctuations in population and potential severe injuries.  The strategy to build a better emergency room included: (1) utilizing acuity adaptable rooms for flexibility and adaptability in patient trauma levels, (2) strategically organizing 12 universal treatment rooms into a repetitive module with improved staff sight-lines and (3) designating secondary treatment areas for rapid evaluation keeping treatment rooms open for higher acuity patients.

In 2011, research was completed on the topic of positive distraction in pediatric clinics.  Perkins+Will worked with staff from a pediatric outpatient facility to study distraction techniques for patients ranging from infants to adolescents.  It was hypothesized that the typical pediatric environment of primary color and child-like imagery would be less appealing for adolescent patients, who would require different positive distraction techniques.  Thirty-six clinicians participated in questionnaires on distraction techniques and responses confirmed patterning, windows, color and art were utilized more often for patients between two and six years of age while talking was employed universally across age ranges and breathing techniques were employed for the oldest of the patient population.

In the pursuit of progress, Perkins+Will along with Cannon Design, EwingCole, HOK and Perkins Eastman will join the Environmental Design Research Association’s (EDRA) Inaugural Fall Symposium at the New York School of Interior Design on October 11, 2013, bringing together students, professionals, policy-makers and academics discussing translational research and Accountable Care.  EDRA’s Board of Directors Chair, Dr. Rula Awwad-Rafferty noted, “The Accountable Care Symposium is an excellent opportunity to explore human-focused translational research in action, in a significant time where it can effectively chart many paths for the present and the future.”  With the momentous shift in healthcare from treating sickness to promoting wellness, research-based design has a great opportunity to shape the physical space of healthcare delivery in a new, and improved manner.

What open research forums like the EDRA Symposium, AREA and others can add to the architecture and design industry is an opportunity to distinguish the profession, improve design work, and enhance the lives of building occupants.  The success of healthcare delivery relies on embracing the concept of wellness. In parallel, the future of healthcare design depends upon embracing research and informed-decision making.  By breaking out of traditional roles interior designers, architects, planners, researchers, academics, students and policy-makers can become a vehicle for testing and improving the health of the individual and the medical community at large.


Sources:
AREA Research www.arearesearch.org

Center for Health Design www.healthdesign.org

Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) www.edra.org

EDRA Landscape of Accountable Care Symposium Link
https://netforum.avectra.com/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=EDRA&WebCode=EventDetail&evt_key=b0e96033-04ad-478e-84fa-a1626b51f4c9

Herring, R. & Williams, M. (2009). "Clinical Processes Informing the Design of the Emergency Department". Perkins+Will Research Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 74-82.   www.perkinswill.com/files/PWRJ_Vol0102.pdf

Pasha, S., Huffcut, J. & Day, T. (2012). “Positive Distraction and Age Differences: Design Implications for Pediatric Healthcare Environments”. Perkins+Will Research Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 13-22.    http://www.perkinswill.com/research/positive-distraction-and-age-differences-design-implications-for-pediatric-healthcare-envir

Perkins+Will Transparency Website http://transparency.perkinswill.com

Plympton, Conway & Epstein (2000). “Daylighting in Schools: Improving Student Performance and Health”. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Pre-Publication Presented at the American Solar Energy Society Conference. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/28049.pdf

National Academy of Environmental Design www.naedonline.org

Bio:
Tama Duffy Day, FIIDA, FASID, LEED AP BD+C, is a Principal in the Washington, D.C., office of Perkins+Will.  A member of the AREA steering committee, Tama has persistently been focused on determining the measurable effects that the physical and social environments have on human health. Throughout her 30 year career, her work and writings have been published consistently and continuously in peer reviewed academic journals and design journals alike, most recently in The Journal of Health Administration Education and the Health Environments Research & Design Journal (HERD). She can be reached at Tama.DuffyDay@perkinswill.com

Jamie Huffcut, LEED AP ID+C, EDAC, is a Project Interior Designer in Washington, D.C., with a focus on research and planning. Jamie received a Master’s Degree in Interior Design, specializing in evidence-based design interventions. Her Master’s thesis concentrated on improving quality in the built environment and has been published in both Healthcare Design Magazine and Behavioral Health Magazine.  Jamie continually shares knowledge through publication and speaking. Throughout 2012 and 2013, Jamie will be speaking on clinic design at national conferences with the Center for Health Design and funded by the Kresge Foundation.

 


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