Posted by Heidi Schwartz
A new healthcare report and toolkit for President Obama’s Climate Action Plan was recently made available to facility professionals. The toolkit, authored by Robin Guenther, FAIA, of global design firm Perkins+Will, sets out to help communities and hospitals understand their climate risks and protect their healthcare facilities and systems during extreme weather events. It also offers resources and advice of value to hospitals, healthcare leaders, and local officials.
The healthcare section of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, an initiative of the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, launched during National Public Health Week at the Building Climate Resilience in the Health Sector topic page. The Toolkit is an integral piece of the President’s Climate Action Plan and builds on the administration’s commitment to boost access to science-based, valuable information on climate change and the built environment. It features case studies of healthcare systems and their pre- and post-event planning, techniques, and responses.
An expert in sustainable and resilient healthcare facility infrastructure, Guenther notes that the Toolkit helps people and communities improve their facilities’ and regions’ climate resilience. It gathers predictive tools and resources in one location, with the goal to improve people’s ability to understand and manage climate-related risks and opportunities and to help them make their communities and businesses more resilient to extreme events.
Guenther’s report, Primary Protection: Enhancing Healthcare Resiliency for a Changing Climate, offers insights and best practices for mitigating the effects of extreme weather events on U.S. healthcare infrastructure and delivery settings, such as hospitals and emergency clinics. Guenther also contributed checklists and resource lists for another healthcare portion of the toolkit, Building Climate Resilience in the Health Sector.
“These new resources help healthcare providers build a strong infrastructure to ensure the continued quality of healthcare before, during, and after extreme weather events,” says Guenther. “They address how to identify system and community vulnerabilities, the relevant codes and regulations, how ecosystem services can help buffer climate impacts, and ways to enhance the resiliency of critical assets including healthcare facilities, care providers, and their families.”
Guenther is principal of Perkins+Will and is increasingly at the intersection of healthcare architecture and sustainable policy. She has been recognized for her leadership and innovation in the design of healing environments.