July 23, 2012

Kaiser Permanente at White House to talk sustainability

Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente’s vice president for Employee Safety, Health and Wellness and environmental stewardship officer, joined leading health systems and top administration officials at a White House event Tuesday to discuss the economic and environmental benefits of greening hospitals.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality hosted Gerwig, along with leaders from leading hospital systems and non-governmental organizations, to highlight the work of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, a partnership aimed at accelerating sustainability in the health care sector.

“Kaiser Permanente is honored to join this important gathering of health and environmental leaders,” said Gerwig. “As health care providers, we believe we have an obligation to our patients, staff and communities to improve health by using less energy, creating less waste, choosing safer chemicals and serving healthier sustainable food.”

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative launched in May 2010. Together with 10 health care systems representing more than 500 hospitals across the country, Kaiser Permanente committed to implementing a series of strategies aimed at reducing its environmental impact and improving the health and safety of the patients, staff and communities it serves.

HHI is an industry-led initiative that calls on the nation’s hospitals to commit to a three-year initiative to improve the health and safety of patients, staff and communities by implementing at least one of these six challenges:

  • Engaged Leadership Challenge: engage in leadership on environmental health and sustainability
  • Healthier Food Challenge: serve healthier foods and beverages
  • Leaner Energy Challenge: reduce energy use
  • Less Waste Challenge: reduce waste and recycle
  • Safer Chemicals Challenge: use safer chemicals
  • Smarter Purchasing Challenge: purchase environmentally preferable products

Among the other participants at the White House event are:

  • Gary Cohen, president, Health Care Without Harm, and founder of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative
  • Al Iannuzzi, senior director, product stewardship, worldwide environment, health and safety at Johnson & Johnson
  • John Messervy, AIA, director of Capital and Facility Planning, Partners HealthCare
  • Brad Perkins, MD, executive vice president for Strategy & Innovation and chief transformation officer, Vanguard Health Systems
  • Blair Sadler, senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; former CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital
  • J. Knox Singleton, CEO, Inova Health System
  • Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO, Gundersen Health System
  • Christina Vernon, executive sustainability officer, Cleveland Clinic
  • Seema Wadhwa, director, Healthier Hospitals Initiative