Donald Berwick Applauds Health Care Sustainability Initiatives

Healthier Hospitals Initiative calls on hospitals to join effort, adopt sustainability practices that achieve better health and better care at lower cost

For Immediate Release: December 11, 2013

Contact: Sherry MacDonald
(703) 870-7494

ORLANDO, Fla.— Donald Berwick—one of the world’s leading advocates for high-quality health care—declared environmental sustainability as one next crucial revolution in quality care during a presentation today at the 25th Annual IHI National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care in Orlando. 

Dr. Berwick is the founder and former CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an organization he led for more than 20 years. He and others developed the IHI Triple Aim in 2008, a groundbreaking approach to improving health and America’s health care system.

Dr. Berwick is a champion for the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) and recognizes environmental sustainability as a powerful means to help achieve the Triple Aim—better care for individuals, better health for populations and per capita cost reduction.

“Hospitals, places of healing, can model healthier behavior,” said Dr. Berwick. “The work of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative reinforces and strengthens the Triple Aim. Leaders that integrate environmentally sustainable operations at their facilities create a culture of nurturing and demonstrate sincere commitment to all people.”

Dr. Berwick extended a call to action to the health care quality improvement experts in the room: be environmental stewards, make sustainability part of quality initiatives and champion sector-wide participation. The other participants of the panel discussion—Blair Sadler, Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, CEO, Gundersen Health System, Robin Guenther, Principal, Perkins+Will and Seema Wadhwa, Director, HHI—shared the benefits of environmental sustainability as part of quality improvement work.

The health care sector’s impact on the environment is substantial—from producing an astonishing 5.2 billion tons of waste annually and consuming more than eight percent of the nation’s energy, to using products containing mercury, DEHP and other harmful chemicals. 

HHI is a collaborative of leading health care institutions and three nonprofits committed to reversing these trends by adopting sustainable practices in the day-to-day operations of hospitals in the United States and Canada. HHI is a three-year initiative that provides free tools and resources to support hospitals in six challenge areas—Engaged Leadership, Healthier Food, Leaner Energy, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals and Smarter Purchasing.

“Sustainability in health care is both a sound business decision and the right thing to do for improved public health and reduced environmental impact,” said Gary Cohen, president of Health Care Without Harm and founder of HHI. “Over 800 organizations have enrolled in HHI. These pioneering health systems are implementing exciting new innovations to help achieve their Triple Aim.”

Learn more about the Healthier Hospitals Initiative at and read about HHI’s success in its first year in the 2012 HHI Milestone Report

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About the Healthier Hospitals Initiative
The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) is a national campaign to implement a new approach to improving environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector. Led by 12 sponsoring health systems and three nonprofits, HHI challenges hospitals to reduce waste in six Challenge areas: Engaged Leadership, Healthier Food, Leaner Energy, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals and Smarter Purchasing. More information is available at

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