Hamilton’s design of a Texarkana hospital earned a spot among the most beautiful hospitals in the country in a 2014 ranking.
For his many achievements as a healthcare facility designer and educator, Kirk Hamilton, professor of architecture at Texas A&M and founding principal emeritus of WHR Architects, earned the Changemaker award from the Center for Health Design, a group of designers and healthcare professionals dedicated to improving healthcare quality through design.
Hamilton made patients the focus of healthcare facilities he designed in 20 states and eight countries.
“I worked hard to try to make hospitals that were less frightening, that connected patients to nature and were something other than highly institutional, dark and dreary places,” said Hamilton, also the founding co-editor of Health Environments Research & Design Journal, a leading academic journal in his field.
Hamilton and Jaynelle Stichler, Professor Emerita of Nursing at San Diego State University and co-founding HERD editor, will receive the award and keynote the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference Nov. 14, 2016 in Houston.
The annual award honors individuals or organizations that have demonstrated an exceptional ability to change the way healthcare facilities are designed and built, and whose work has had broad impact in advancing healthcare design.
“Hamilton and Stichler’s influence on our industry, as professionals and with HERD, has inspired so many,” said Frank Weinberg, CHD board chairman. “It is their dedication, vision and expertise that created HERD and makes accessible rigorous research from academic sources and applied research from practice.”
With findings published in the journal, said Weinberg, the healthcare design community can address daily challenges to improve patient outcomes and enhance the work environments of healthcare professionals worldwide.
“Our industry has become both more knowledgeable and more connected through the HERD journal, an essential industry resource,” he said. The journal publishes peer-reviewed research and methodology papers, theory articles, case studies, and book reviews.
In his studios, Hamilton teaches that facility design affects the length of hospital stays and other clinical outcomes.
“My legacy will be far more extensive as a result of my students’ accomplishments than my own body of work,” he said. “The future of health design looks bright.”
In 2012, Hamilton was listed as one of the 25 Most Influential People in Healthcare Design by Healthcare Design magazine.
“He continues to restlessly investigate, analyze, and discuss forthcoming trends and best practices,” said Todd Hutlock, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.
He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Medal by the ACHA and is one of the few architects in the Society of Critical Care Medicine, an organization that promotes critical care consistency and excellence.
Hamilton, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2004, is pursuing a Ph.D. in nursing and healthcare innovation at Arizona State University.
A research fellow at Texas A&M's Center for Health Systems & Design, Hamilton earned a Master of Science in Organization Development degree at Pepperdine University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Texas.