White House Highlights Healthier Hospitals Initiative’s Role in Improving Health, Lowering Costs

For Immediate Release: July 25, 2012

Contact:       Sherry MacDonald
                     (703) 870-7494

View recordings of White House event: Greening America's Hospitals Part 1 and Part 2

RESTON, VA—The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) yesterday hosted the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) for a discussion celebrating the health care industry’s innovative success in adopting more sustainable practices. The event, “Greening America’s Hospitals,” specifically highlighted HHI’s successful efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of hospitals, lower costs and improve patient health by incorporating environmental sustainability initiatives into their business models.

In addition to HHI and CEQ, senior Administration officials, hospital administrators, business leaders and policy experts lent their perspectives to the discussion. The discussion included two panels, “Fostering a Culture of Environmental Sustainability" and "Healthier Hospitals Initiative: Transforming the Supply Chain." The panelists included:

  • Gary Cohen, President, Health Care Without Harm, and Founder of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative
  • Kathy Gerwig, Vice President, Workplace Safety and Environmental Stewardship Officer, Kaiser Permanente
  • Al Iannuzzi, Senior Director Product Stewardship, Worldwide Environment, Health and Safety at Johnson & Johnson
  • John Messervy, AIA, Director of Capital and Facilities Planning, Partners HealthCare
  • Brad Perkins, MD, Executive Vice President for Strategy & Innovation, & Chief Transformation Officer, Vanguard Health Systems
  • Blair Sadler, Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; former CEO of Rady Children's Hospital
  • J. Knox Singleton, CEO, Inova Health System
  • Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO, Gundersen Health System
  • Christina Vernon, Executive Sustainability Officer, Cleveland Clinic
  • Seema Wadhwa, Director, Healthier Hospitals Initiative

Several senior officials of the Obama Administration were on hand to spotlight HHI’s effective approaches to implementing sustainability initiatives that reduce costs and improve patient care in health care facilities across the country. Officials included:

  • Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
  • Maria Vargas, Director of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative
  • Bicky Corman, Deputy Associate Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Policy
  • Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Jon Carson, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement  

For more information about HHI’s efforts, read Gary Cohen’s blog post, “Promoting Sustainable Health Care,” on the White House’s website.

View recordings of White House event: Greening America's Hospitals Part 1 and Part 2

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About the Healthier Hospitals Initiative

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) is a national campaign to implement a completely new approach to improving environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector.  Eleven of the largest, most influential U.S. health systems, comprising approximately 500 hospitals with more than $20 billion in purchasing power, worked with Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), the Center for Health Design and Practice Greenhealth to create HHI as a guide for hospitals to improve sustainability in six key areas: engaged leadership, healthier foods, leaner energy, less waste, safer chemicals, and smarter purchasing.  Sponsoring health systems include Advocate Health Care, Bon Secours Health System, Catholic Health Initiatives, Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West), Hospital Corporation of America, Inova Health System, Kaiser Permanente, MedStar Health, Partners HealthCare, Tenet Health Systems and Vanguard Health Systems. More information is available at www.healthierhospitals.org.

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