ACHA Quarterly

Please contact Matthew Kennedy, AIA, ACHA, Editor, with article submissions or questions regarding the ACHA Quarterly.

ACHA Quarterly – March 2021

Click here for a pdf of the following issue.

President’s Message – Angela Mazzi, FAIA, FACHA

What a great time to be a healthcare architect!  2020 was a huge disruptor, but disruption is the catalyst for change. It requires our creative skills to think beyond the status quo and imagine what’s possible.  Healthcare design has been spotlighted in the mainstream media as we reexamine sites of care, safety protocols, stress, and burnout.  We’re using this opportunity to showcase ACHA as an organization of thought leaders. It is my goal to provide opportunities for certificants to be engaged in initiatives that are impactful and relevant within and outside of the world of healthcare and harness our collective expertise.

So far, we have a lot to celebrate.  We started 2021 with an article published January 6 in the Business section of the New York Times that featured four of our certificants and highlighted the importance of the built environment in fostering healing.  We’ve also had several certificants publish articles in major healthcare publications- our Communications and Outreach Committee is making sure these get posted to our social media channels.  If you haven’t already, read these articles and drop the writers (your ACHA Colleagues) a note. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ACHA_Info) and join our LinkedIn Group (American College of Healthcare Architects) so you don’t miss valuable information and networking opportunities. 

We also continue to look for ways to promote the importance of Certification. Our Career Path Committee is exploring strategies to enroll young professionals as candidates and help them along the path to certification. For the first time, Certification applicants can choose whether to text first or have their portfolio reviewed first and are expecting a record number of applicants thanks to our Fellow’s Challenge where we asked each Fellow to identify three people and help them move through the process.

It’s important to the Board to develop more ways to harness your talents and promote our expertise as a collective through ACHA channels. We are also building connections with allied organizations like the Beryl Institute and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), while continuing to strengthen our partnership with the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE).

One example is the Future of Healthcare Task Force (my pet project), which includes representatives from all three of these organizations.  I’m proud of the work this group is doing to advance a new healthcare paradigm that focusses on improving access to care and can’t wait to present their findings at this year’s Summer Leadership Summit.  The two deep-dive workshops we held allowed 20 additional certificants to participate in this groundbreaking effort. Look for us to pivot to more task force and workshop-based initiatives in addition to the work standing committees.  We want to give all of you a chance to be engaged, even if you only have a few hours to devote each year.  Certification is far more than a few more postnominal initials.  Contact us to learn how we can help you leverage your skills and expertise while connecting to fellow thought leaders and influencers in healthcare architecture.

ACHA Certificants Making an Impact!

As an ACHA Certificant you know (and your clients know) – we are at the heart of change in the industry. Check-out these news items reporting on the activities of your ACHA colleagues:

  • ACHA Certificant, Scot Latimer Read a new report from @Gensler on the biggest trends reshaping offices and health spaces, such as expanded flexibility and design encouraging collaboration, including insights from (via @Fast Company).
  • ACHA Certificant, Diana Anderson, will serve as a keynote speaker at the upcoming Heapy Symposium on Sustainability in Health Care‘s March 25 online event – presenting on data and evidence-based design research highlighting the importance of the built environment in medical care.
  • ACHA Certificant, Jason Schroer – How do you build a pandemic-resilient hospital? According to experts like Jason, the approach involves seven key principles: versatility, surge ready, support of well-being, clean air and surfaces, isolation, flow, and digital innovation. Read more here.

If you are not making news at the moment, then share what you do see and what news you do hear about your fellow ACHA Certificants via social media sites such as Linked-In or Twitter. And remember to mention that you too are an ACHA Certificants, and we all are on the Move!

Don’t Wait for ACHA Certification

As ACHA Certified healthcare architects, we all have friends, colleagues and even clients who share our passion for healthcare design, and share our experience and talent to make great things happen in the industry.  Help them take that next step by reaching out to them to consider heathcare design certification through ACHA via either pathway, Candidate or Applicant.

The processes have never been easier.  Don’t delay sharing this information with those you would be honored to call ACHA colleagues.

ACHA Quarterly – Winter 2021

Click here for a pdf of the following issue.

Launching the Next 20 Years:  Presidential Reflections

As we near the end of the year, we reflect on 2020 and look forward to 2021.  We made it through, and for many of us it may have been a struggle at times, personally and professionally. This year has changed our thinking and feelings about ourselves, our relationships, us as a nation and our place in the world.  It has changed the healthcare industry and how we respond to the instantaneous changes that happen.  Thank you to everyone who has responded with compassion, patience, and duty.  We thank our healthcare workers and healthcare architects who responded in crisis.  We thank all that stand for social justice, equity and diversity as ACHA stands with you. 

For ACHA, 2020 has been a year of recalibrating as we marked our 20th anniversary as an organization:

  • We revisited our bylaws, policies and procedures.
  • We launched a new recertification and data management software to help us be more efficient and effective.
  • We restructured some of our committees by introducing the new Career Path Committee and finalized all committee charters.
  • We are reimagining the Education committee into a Continuing Competence committee, asking what it means to stay competent.
  • We shifted our mindset around portfolio submittal and exam sequencing, nudging potential candidates to take the next step towards certification.  
  • We started our first annual “Town Hall” virtual meetings to stay connected through these times and solicited your thoughts around value. 
  • We launched our new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to consciously look deeper into our own organization with greater purpose and intent.  

Although we couldn’t be together like we have enjoyed in the past, we have made strides to move ACHA forward into the future.  We look forward to a new year with hope and welcomed anticipation. 

2020 was more than just a celebration of a milestone anniversary.  It was a chance for us to highlight ACHA Certificants as industry leaders and leverage our network.  Twenty years ago, our organization was much smaller and largely comprised of change-makers who were also cohorts.  Since then, we’ve grown and seen two new generations become certified.  Because of this, we have to think differently about cultivating and leveraging our network to continue to promote thought leadership. The dreams our founders had of healthcare design being recognized as a specialty have been realized. As we look to add more value to certification, we are continuing to forge new alliances within the healthcare industry and find opportunities to promote all of you as the voice of the industry.  If 2020 was a foundational year, 2021 is our opportunity to build on that foundation.  We will be shifting to more targeted strategies, including our task force and workshops on the Future of Healthcare and greater calls for engagement and participation from all of you. Look for more Town Halls and member profiles so you can get to know one another better.  Above all else, we want to hear from you—please let us know how we can help you advance your credential as a Certified Healthcare Architect.We wish you and your loved ones the happiest of Holidays and look forward to working with you to advance ACHA into the next 20 years.

​Vince Avallone
2020 ACHA President
​Angela Mazzi
2021 ACHA President

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The 2020 (Virtual) Inauguration of ACHA Fellows

The American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) has announced its Class of 2020 Fellows, who were elevated to Fellow status in the College at the 2020 Annual Meeting last November.

Fellowship status was founded to advance the unique qualities of the profession of healthcare architecture by demonstrating and celebrating achievements of national significance. While there are nearly 400 colleagues in the United States and Canada who are ACHA board certified healthcare architects, there are only 49 ACHA Fellows as designated by the credential FACHA.

Here are the stories of the two individuals elected for 2020:

Abigail Clary, AIA, FACHA – CannonDesign Chicago, IL)

Abbie’s uncanny ability to see the unique possibilities within each design challenge is her gift. She has built and led the best teams in the country in the unruly task of delivering design solutions that catapult beyond precedents and find the humanity in the detail.

Bestowing the FACHA Medal to Abbie are her Mother & Father.

William C. Ayars, AIA, FACHA, Perspectus Architecture Cleveland

Bill has brought his heart and soul to a career dedicated to the advancement of healthcare design with an architects-patient centered design philosophy. This became a personal initiative when he was able to share his own experience in therapy settings with a critical eye for opportunities to enhance and improve personal dignity and providing best-in-class environments for the leading national healthcare systems.

Bestowing the FACHA Medal to Bill is his Wife Susan.

If you know of a Board Certified ACHA Certificate Holder who has practiced within the specialty in an exemplary fashion for ten years or more, they are eligible for nomination for ACHA Fellowship. The deadline for consideration of eligible candidates for nomination in 2021 is July 1, 2021. Application materials, information on the process of election and even a recorded webinar on the fellowship nomination and election process – can be found on the ACHA website under Awards/ACHA Fellowship.

Congratulations to the 2020 ACHA Fellows and good luck to the 2021 Fellowship Candidates!

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ACHA Annual Meeting During the New Normal

Our typical ACHA Annual meeting this year was held in an untypical fashion, being entirely virtual. Several hundred of us gathered together on a Tuesday afternoon last month on laptops & i-phones to continue the time-honored tradition of honoring our achievements and successes in the College and displaying the comradery we all share.

We began with a traditional Meet & Greet, using technology to create smaller break-out room chats to catch-up with friends and colleagues from Maine to California and all places in between. Talking in our smaller groups about life in the new normal, some working in the office part-time, some working from home full-time, all sharing our personal stories while many wore our professional pins and medals to connect us as a professional organization in ways in which technology can’t.

Rejoining the larger group session, 2020 President Vince Avallone led us through a report on the events and happenings in the College during 2020, including the following key highlights:

  • The election of Angela Mazzi, FAIA, FACHA as the 2021 President of the Board of Regents.  Angela assumes this role as of January 1, 2021 and succeeds Vince elected in 2020.
  • Recognition and thanks to the 2020 ACHA Board of Regents and staff at the Kellen Company for their distinguished service and dedication during this challenging year of communication and fellowship.
  • Vince also reported on the status of the 2020 Campaign which almost doubled the amount of Certificant Applications in 2020; the achievements of the Continued Competence Committee and the new Career Path Committee to help continue growth and development of Certificants in 2021 and the newly established Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce (EDI) helping us to maintain responsible practices and stewardship in the industry.
  • Reporting out on the success of the Townhall Discussions, the smaller-group virtual gatherings held throughout the Fall.  Attended by 22% of the College in 16 meetings, the Townhalls focused on how practices, and people were feeling during this difficult time, and how the ACHA at this 20-year milestone of achievement can help.
  • Vince included a virtual Shout-Out to the New Certificant Class of 2020, our largest to date with 46 new Certificants.
  • The announcement of Abigail Clary and William Ayars who were elevated to Fellow Status, achieving distinction in their work and congratulations to them!

We also held a Moment of Silence in remembrance of the Certificate holders that have passed this year, to honor their commitment and service to the profession and included in that moment of silence our prayers and thoughts to those families and friends that have been seriously impacted by the COVID Crisis.

As we look towards 2021, a new year of growth, opportunity and new ways to remain connected and continuing our traditions during the New Normal and well beyond – stay safe, stay healthy and be well!

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ACHA Quarterly – Fall 2020

When WFH Becomes Learning from Home

Click here for pdf of the following article.

There has been no equal in recent times that has significantly altered the way we live, and the way we work as much as the COVID-19 pandemic has. Yet, every day we see examples of how we can continue to do both (living and working) in successful and safe ways so that we can accomplish and even excel in the profession we practice.

The most immediate example that many of us in the ACHA have directly experienced, is the impact the pandemic has had on the annual AAH/ACHA Summer Leadership Summit (SLS). This year may have easily been the 1st summer that the SLS did not happen, however, it became the first year the event occurred live, via virtual videoconference.

Typically held in-person in Chicago for as long (or almost as long) as the ACHA has existed, this year’s SLS explored resilient strategies employed by healthcare leaders in response to rapidly evolving care delivery and business models, including:

  • changing care models
  • helping staff to thrive and deal with stress
  • medical professional mental health/burnout and the impact on quality care
  • unique challenges to rural, marginalized populations and critical access care

The SLS online modeled the format of the familiar in-person event and consisted of two parts. Part one offering individual and paired speakers presenting specific topics of interest. Part two continuing with a robust panel discussion including live Q&A and observations from the participating audience.

  • Donald Donahue, PhD, University of Maryland
  • Paul DeChant, MD American Association of Physician Leadership
  • Dian Ginsberg, American Association of Physician Leadership
  • Judith Heerwagon, U.S. General Services Administration
  • Christopher Kane, Phoebe Health
  • Alan Morgan, National Organization of Rural Hospitals
  • Patricia Schou, Illinois Rural Health Network

Many firms involved in healthcare design, and almost all our healthcare clientele have promoted design information and other best-practice information to our industry colleagues and the general public at large through similar virtual venues. There are even more virtual learning and knowledge sharing opportunities to come, such as:

And remember, virtual events are easier to record, to share, and to re-broadcast (i.e., on demand), resulting in more people learning, participating, and sharing knowledge and experiences when compared to physically attended events. So now is the time to not only learn more about how and what we need to design for future healthcare facilities, but to also share those lessons learned and stay true to vision of the ACHA in transforming healthcare through better built environments.

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