The Environmental Excellence Awards

Published: 11/01/2018 - 16:15
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Each year, a growing number of Practice Greenhealth members participate in the Environmental Excellence Awards. It’s safe to say, the awards applications are a considerable undertaking, and require team participation, coaxing and follow-through in order to complete an award submission. Given the workload, why do hospitals continue to participate? Beyond the resulting recognition, how is the awards process adding value to hospitals’ sustainability journey?

Most hospitals submit a Partner for Change application. This comprehensive application covers ten topic areas and dives deeply into a range of different programmatic initiatives. For many hospitals, the award application acts as a yearly assessment tool—a chance to assess what programs the facility has put into place and where the opportunities still lie. External recognition, as well as internal recognition by the executive team and other staff are also a huge incentive for participation. Recognition acts as both a carrot and a stick—and can help sustainability leaders engage other leaders and frontline staff across the organization. The awards submission deadline can help drive many players across the hospital to prioritize sustainability and programmatic data collection when it might otherwise get lost in the fray of competing priorities.

Completing the loop are the feedback and performance reports that Practice Greenhealth provides to award participants each year following the awards cycle. The benchmark report card provides a visual orientation on how the hospital is performing on key sustainability metrics in comparison to other award participants, as well as the median and 90th percentile performance for each metric. And member engagement liaisons can also provide more in-depth feedback and analysis. At a time when every new program or initiative is under the microscope, the data collected through the awards program supports stronger business case development, storytelling and opportunities to engage a larger portion of the health care workforce in this important work.

What some of our members have to say about Awards:

“The awards application process has been a wonderful learning exercise. It really helps us see with clarity the areas where we are strong, as well as the areas where we have gaps, aiding us in identifying potential projects for the coming year.”

Sara Wohlford, MPH, RN, Efficiency and Sustainability Program Manager, Carilion Clinic (first-time award applicant)

“Cleveland Clinic uses the Practice GreenHealth Awards process to help review our environmental performance from stem to stern for each facility, document the successes of the previous year and plan how to get better! By using the rigorous set of questions as part of our continuous learning we find new opportunities to improve every year.”

Jon Utech, Senior Director, Office for a Healthy Environment, Cleveland Clinic (winner of 29 awards as a health system in 2016)

"HealthPartners uses the Practice Greenhealth application and benchmark report to help guide our program, measure our success and highlight where we have opportunities for improvement. We view these resources as our materiality assessment in order to focus on what is important in health care sustainability. These tools have been a real catalyst in moving our program forward."
Dana A. Slade, CHMM, Director, Sustainability Programs, HealthPartners

"Practice Greenhealth’s national awards program is a way facilities can recognize and celebrate their sustainability efforts. The application process furthers collaboration and teamwork at our facilities. It is pleasing that the award process asks facilities for their unique stories about their sustainability efforts."

Anna Ward, Sustainability Manager, HCA

Awards are due March 8, 2017 - Apply now and get recognition for your accomplishments!  

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