Health Care Change Agents Recognized in Environmental Conference

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2011

Contact:  Molly Englund

410-706-6832 (office)

Several Maryland hospitals and individual nurses were honored for their environmental health achievements at the Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment’s (MD H2E) annual Environmental Excellence in Health Care Conference today.

The first annual Nursing Leadership in Environmental Health Award was presented to Denise Choiniere, MS, RN, sustainability manager for University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Choiniere, the first full-time sustainability manager in a Maryland hospital, spearheaded a number of environmental initiatives at UMMC, including a hazardous pharmaceutical waste management program, Earth Day events, and a weekly farmers’ market.

MD H2E Director Barbara Sattler, DrPH, RN, FAAN, was honored with an Environmental Health Visionary Award. Sattler is founder and director of the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Environmental Health Education Center and an associate professor in the School’s Community/Public Health master’s specialty.

Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, presented five Maryland hospitals with MD H2E Trailblazer Awards. The Trailblazer Award is given annually to hospitals that have shown leadership in advancing sustainability in their operations. The 2011 winners are:

Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) – AAMC replaced operating room surgical lights with LED lights and started a program to move from disposable single use medical devices to reprocessed and remanufactured devices. They also implemented a surgical services recycling program and took additional steps to reduce the amount of operating room waste.

Carroll Hospital Center (CHC) –Using a sustainability tracking tool to quantify the results of an environmental initiative, CHC was able to track its water, energy, and natural gas usage. As a result, CHC took steps that reduced natural gas usage by 30 percent. These steps included boiler refurbishing, boiler parameter control charts, adjustment of pressure and water temperatures, and softening all domestic water within the hospital, which improved heat transfer through coils.

Good Samaritan Hospital – Good Samaritan Hospital built an employee/community vegetable and herb garden on its campus. Volunteers planted a variety of crops and donated a portion of the food to a local food bank. The goal of the garden project is to teach employees about healthy food options, creating their own gardens, and sharing the harvest with the community. Good Samaritan is one of two Baltimore hospitals with vegetable gardens.

Union Hospital of Cecil County (UHCC) – Union Hospital is committed to purchasing local sustainable meat, poultry, and produce for its cafeteria and patient meals. Local farms have increased their acreage for produce, employed winter greenhouses for growing, and increased poultry flock size to meet the hospital’s needs. Forty-nine percent of UHCC’s meat and 100 percent of its beef is now purchased locally. Food waste is either composted or sent to an area hog farmer to be used for feed.

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) – UMMC focused on lighting conservation and upgrades in the past year. The goals of their project included turning off lights when not in use and when daylight is sufficient in atriums and hallways, replace inefficient light bulbs with more efficient bulbs, and establish a baseline to monitor changes. Occupancy sensors and photo cell sensors were installed and lights in mechanical rooms were placed on automated controls.

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Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment is a technical assistance and networking initiative that promotes environmental sustainability in health care. Participants include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, research laboratories, and other ancillary health care providers in Maryland (