From our announcement in MedChi News:

Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E) Looking for Physicians who Want to Participate

Hospitals throughout Maryland are assessing and minimizing patient, staff, and community exposures to harmful chemicals as well as developing and implementing programs to minimize the hospital’s impact on the environment.  Physicians are well poised to assist in these efforts.

Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E), a national leader in providing statewide sustainability opportunities, provides technical assistance, networking and educational opportunities that promote environmental sustainability in health care.  To date, more than 75 percent of hospitals in Maryland have interdisciplinary Green Teams that have developed and implemented environmental programs such as integrated pest management, environmentally preferable purchasing, green cleaning, regulated medical waste reduction, recycling, sustainable foods purchasing, and more.

Physicians in Maryland have demonstrated leadership in this area.  For instance, MD H2E hosted a “Green Physicians Panel Discussion” at the third annual Environmental Excellence in Health Care conference in November 2010, where over 200 health care providers attended.  The panel discussion, facilitated by Delegate Dan Morhaim, MD, included the following:

  • Cynthia Bearer, M.D., PhD, FAAP, Chief, Division of Neonatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Martin Makary, M.D., MPH, FACS, Associate Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institution
  • Noe Woods, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Magee-Womens Hospital

Dr. Bearer discussed her work to reduce toxic exposures to neonatal patients by having the University of Maryland Medical Center shift to purchasing IV Bags and other plastic products that do not leach the reproductive toxicant Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).  Dr. Makary and Dr. Woods shared their work to implement programs to reduce waste in the operating room.

“There are many strategies that don’t add risk to patients but allow hospitals to cut waste and reduce their carbon footprints,” said Dr. Martin A. Makary, lead author of a study to identify leading practices to promote environmentally friendly and efficient efforts in the provision of surgical health care, cited in an article in the February 2011 issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Physicians have several options in becoming sustainable leaders at their facility, including:

  • Participating on the hospital’s Green Team;
  • Establishing new hospital policies on purchasing and operations;
  • Meeting with hospital administrators to advocate for sustainable initiatives;
  • Helping to identify funding sources for new initiatives;
  • Educating peers through presentations and writing articles;
  • Becoming educated spokespeople for the hospital marketing department and the media;
  • Advocating for local, state and federal legislation and policy changes; and
  • Changing the standards of care in professional specialties and professional associations.

Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment is looking for physicians who want to participate or lead in one or more of the above roles.

If interested, contact Joan Plisko, PhD, Technical Director, Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment at, or 410-706-2107.

full citation:

Kwakye, G., Brat, G. A., Makary, M. A., (2011).   Green surgical practices for health care.  Archives of Surgery, 146(2), 131-136.  doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.343