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Health Care Professionals Return From CleanMed Ready to Green Health Care

May 08, 2012 11:06 ET

Health Care Professionals Return From CleanMed Ready to Green Health Care

Conference Provided Education, Tools, Motivation to Speed Health Care Sustainability

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WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwire – May 8, 2012) – Health care professionals from across the country are returning to work today with renewed energy and tools for engaging in sustainable health care after attending CleanMed, the nation’s most important conference on health care sustainability. With information on new products, procedures and tools to help hospitals green their operations, including a new free program developed by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, plus a strong business case, hospitals now have every incentive to begin reducing their environmental footprint.

“At CleanMed, we provided more than 50 multidisciplinary educational sessions that made the business case for health care sustainability as well as highlighted the health concerns of climate change and environmental impacts,” said Laura Wenger, executive director ofPractice Greenhealth, one of the host sponsors of CleanMed. “We are also providing tools, education, practice guidelines and other assistance to hospitals to help them engage in sustainable operations, and we hope they will take advantage of these programs.”

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative, started by Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harmand The Center for Health Design, along with eleven major hospital systems, provides free “How-To” guides and technical assistance for hospitals to engage in sustainability in six areas of hospital operations. Hospitals can enroll for free and proceed at their own pace. The goal of HHI is to speed the engagement in sustainability across the health care sector. A presentation on each of the six areas or “Challenges,” was made at CleanMed for attendees to become more familiar with the program.

“CleanMed has an undeniable re-energizing component to it,” said Gary Cohen, President and Founder of Health Care Without Harm. “Attendees are inspired by each other. As attendees see what can be done, they bring back new ideas and information that they need to push their programs forward. And of course, the main reason health care is engaged in this effort is to improve public health, which touches the mission of every hospital and speaks to health professionals, most of which entered their field with this goal in mind.”

The nation’s epidemic of chronic illnesses, much of which can be attributed to environmental factors, is behind the push for accelerating sustainable health care. Heart and lung disease, obesity, cancer, asthma and other chronic illnesses all have environmental components. Treating chronic illness consumes 75 percent of today’s health care expenses.

During CleanMed, Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm announced its annual award winners. Jackie Hunt Christensen has been named the recipient of the 2012 Environmental Health Hero Award, the highest award bestowed by HCWH. Presented annually, the Environmental Health Hero Award recognizes an individual whose professional accomplishments have significantly contributed to advances in environmental health science or policy. Ms. Christensen is a founder of HCWH and served as one of three co-coordinators who ran the organization following its formation.

“At Health Care Without Harm, with Gary [Cohen] and Charlotte [Brody], I learned to think — and work — both inside and outside ‘The Box.’ I think that strategy has been the key to the campaign’s many successes,” said Christensen.

Health Care Without Harm’s Nurses Work Group, along with The Luminary Project, has named Dr. Stephanie Chalupka, EdD, APRN, PHCNS-BC, FAAOHN, as the 2012 Recipient of the Charlotte Brody Award. Dr. Chalupka is Professor of Public Health Nursing and Chair of the Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Department of Nursing at Worcester State University and also holds an appointment as a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health, Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program at the Harvard School of Public Health. The award recognizes a nurse’s endeavors towards “brilliantly lighting the way to a healthier environment and inspiring other nurses to do the same.” Other awards were presented by HCWH honoring nursing students, as well as achievements in waste management.

More than 280 hospitals and supporting businesses received awards from Practice Greenhealth, including six inductees to the Environmental Leadership Circle, Practice Greenhealth’s highest award, which honors facilities that exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in health care. Those hospitals are Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Madigan Healthcare System, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, MetroWest Medical Center/Framingham Union Hospital and MetroWest Medical Center/Leonard Morse Hospital.

CleanMed’s companion conference, CleanMed Europe, will take place in Malmo, Sweden, on September 26-28, 2012. CleanMed’s next US conference will be held on April 24-26, 2013 in Boston, Mass.

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