SNF Nostos



The Importance of Nature and Design in the Healing Process

Friday June 24, 15:15, Alternative Stage GNO

Michael Kimmelman, Architecture critic, The New York Times
Morgan Hutchinson MD, Assistant Medical Director, Emergency Medicine, TJUH/JMH, Director of Education & SI-Design Track, Health Design Lab, SKMC
David Saladik, Senior Principal, MASS Design Group


Designing spaces that soothe, reduce stress, and facilitate the healing process was the focus of this exceptionally interesting discussion held on the Alternative Stage of the Greek National Opera.
In his introductory talk, architecture critic for The New York Times Michael Kimmelman pointed out that "public spaces, streets, and neighborhoods are tied to the delivery of health and are places whose design determines who ends up and doesn’t in hospitals.”

For his part, David Saladik, Senior Principal at MASS Design Group agreed that we see the impact of design on health every day, giving a brief example of a U.S. research study on maternal health and childbirth. According to the study, 15% of women require a caesarean after admission to hospital. But why? As it turned out, the design of each maternity hospital had a direct bearing on health outcomes. "When there was pressure, the number of caesarean sections would go up because it is a faster procedure than natural birth," he noted.

"What is a public health care space? This is a question we had the opportunity to challenge during the pandemic," Morgan Hutchinson, Assistant Medical Director, Emergency Medicine, TJUH/JMH said. She went on to explain how her team set up mobile vaccination units for neighborhoods that had no access to vaccines or information, ultimately creating a welcoming experience and a friendly environment for those who needed to get vaccinated.

She subsequently referred to a Philadelphia study that looked at what the impact would be if vacant lots filled with trash were cleaned up and replaced by low-budget parks. The findings of this small and low-cost intervention are extremely interesting. "People’s heart rate was decreased up to 15 beats per minute just by having a view over these cleaned up, green spaces,” she concluded.