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For YOU, For Us, For the Sector

By: Janet Brown, HHI Director of Content & Outreach, Healthier Hospitals Initiative and Director, Facility Engagement, Practice Greenhealth

Congratulations to Dr. Jeff Thompson, President and CEO of Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Leadership Circle Award Winning Facility, Gundersen Health and Gary Cohen, Founder of Health Care without Harm and the Visionary behind the Healthier Hospitals Initiative for being recognized by the White House for leadership in public health and climate change!

This award extends further than Jeff and Gary. These awards represent a win for the sector --  A win for every health care staffer that has worked to create a healthier environment at their hospital or organization. Congratulations to YOU. For all that YOU do, every day, to make hospitals healthier.

  • Every OR nurse that has collected unused items to donate to developing countries
  • Every team that switched to greener cleaners to improve air quality for staff and patients
  • Every clinical leader working on prevention and modeling healthy behavior
  • Every leader who creates the position of a sustainability coordinator or empowers their sustainability team
  • Every buyer who has procured healthier materials for construction, equipment and supplies.
  • Every integrated design team working together to reduce stress of building occupants, design for resiliency and ecological health
  • Every facility manager working to increase green energy procurement and conserve energy and water use
  • Every food service team procuring fresh, locally sourced, healthier food and making the connection between food and healthier communities.
  • Every staffer participating in green teams, champion programs and environmental programming.
  • Every landscaper, creating places of respite and reflection.

We all deserve a healthy, safe and respectful health care environments -- to best care for patients and their families and to aid in healing.  

All health care workers play a role in healing – helping a patient or family member find their way, a warm greeting, a healing touch, a look in the eye. It comes down to people.

These awards are well deserved. Thank you to Jeff Thompson, MD – who creates a culture of possibilities at Gundersen and leads by example of just what is possible in health care. Who gives talks at conferences, on phone calls and meetings and helps engage other leaders. Thank you to Gary Cohen, our leader – for his vision and his commitment.

The reality is – this work is tough.  We know from experience that you get tired, exhausted, frustrated and sometimes it feels like we aren’t making progress at all.  Take a moment and realize YOUR value in this work. Know that our progress today is due to each of you, working individually and together. That persistence is creating the sector movement that is underway. It is thanks to the passionate health care workers that do their best every single day; that fill out Environmental Excellence Awards, participate in educational activities and strive for more…

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

- Margaret Mead

Please accept this recognition and I hope it can provide a bit of sustenance to propel you to keep pushing forward. Every step matters. Every program, no matter how small, has the potential to motivate or educate another. And it’s through these small steps that we move the sector and the world.  One Program, one person, one day. That’s how change happens. This award is for YOU.


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