CHSD participates in AIA Design & Health Research Consortium

Kirk Hamilton

Texas A&M’s Center for Health Systems & Design has been selected as a charter member of the American Institute of Architects’ Design & Health Research Consortium, a group formed to spur university-led research investigating how design affects public health.

“The research teams chosen for this consortium include some of the nation’s leading thinkers on the growing connection between design and public health,” said Robert Ivy, AIA CEO. “We chose them because their research has the best potential for affecting policy across a wide swath of issues at the intersection of the built environment and public health.”

One of the world’s leading healthcare design research organizations, CHSD is a joint venture of the Texas A&M College of Architecture and College of Medicine. The center brings together experts from multiple disciplines to focus on sustainable, evidence-based design in the field of healthcare environments. CHSD research fellows examine how the built and natural environments affect patients, influence healing, pain relief, quality health care, physical activity, social interaction, work flow and other behaviors.

"The cross pollination of research findings from multiple universities facilitated by the consortium and their implications for design will benefit practitioners," said D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA, FACHA, interim CHSD director. "Additionally, shared information about research methods and agreement about outcome measures will benefit academic and practice-based researchers."

"It is an honor to be included among the original consortium members," he added, "and we are excited by what the collaborative future may bring."

In the last ten years there’s been a realization that healthy places are sustainable places, said Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop, executive director of the AIA Foundation, which as partnered with the AIA and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture on the consortium project.

“The optimal building of this century will be one that minimizes its ecological footprint while promoting human health and well-being,” she said. “The consortium will help lay the foundation for making this vision a reality.”

The AIA has developed its design and health initiative around six evidence-based approaches — environmental quality, natural systems, physical activity, safety, sensory environments, and social connectedness — all of which are elements in the physical environment’s role in creating health opportunities and positive health behaviors.

During the next three years, CHSD will partner with consortium sponsors and its 10 fellow university members to identify and develop opportunities for funded research, publication, and other resources in design and public health with the idea that coordination and collaboration will benefit the consortium, its partners and the design and health professions.  

Ongoing CHSD research and international collaborations include: hospital, ICU and sensory environments studies, healthy communities initiatives, LEAN construction and integrated project delivery in healthcare, and investigating the relationship of landscapes to long-term care settings.

Joining the Texas A&M Center for Health Systems & Design as charter members of the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium are:

  • University of Oregon;
  • Drexel University;
  • NewSchool of Architecture & Design, Innovative Design Science;
  • University of Miami School of Architecture and Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences;
  • University of Florida;
  • Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation;
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Architecture;
  • School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Kansas;
  • Texas Tech University College of Architecture; and
  • University of Arizona Institute on Place and Wellbeing
posted January 29, 2015