Those Who Change the World

July 1, 2003
Rosalyn Cama, FASID

Those Who Change the World

The Center for Health Design is all about change—changing the way we think about how healthcare facilities should look and feel. With that in mind, the center's board of directors initiated the Changemaker Award in 1999.The center gives this annual award to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated exceptional ability to make change happen in healthcare facility design. Honorees can be, but are not limited to, design professionals, design firms, product manufacturers, healthcare professionals (including practitioners), healthcare institutions, healthcare facility owners, researchers, educators, authors, consultants, associations, association leaders, etc.Past honorees are a who's who in the healthcare design industry. Through their work or their organizations, they have all been able to significantly change the way the industry thinks about healthcare facilities. Below is a description of their accomplishments.Cynthia Leibrock, ASID, Hon. IIDAAn award-winning author, international lecturer and designer with more than 30 years of experience, Cynthia Leibrock's mission is to improve the lives of older and disabled people through design. Leibrock is the principal/founder of EASY ACCESS TO HEALTH in Fort Collins, CO, a firm that offers consulting services in patient-centered design, planning for independent living, product analysis and judiciary witness services. Prominent projects include The Betty Ford Center, the UCLA Medical Center, automotive interior design for Toyota, and a universal design exhibit for the Smithsonian. She has recently completed a universal design showroom for The Kohler Co. (training over 150,000 consumers a year) and a "living laboratory" in Fort Collins researching the environmental needs of older people.William H. Thomas, M.D.Dr. Bill Thomas is a man who has followed his heart and created an organization that has bettered the lives of thousands of people living and working in nursing homes. Believing that "it can be different," he started an organization called The Eden Alternative, whose purpose is to teach us to see nursing home environments as habitats for human beings rather than facilities for the frail and elderly. He believes that we must learn what Mother Nature has to teach us about the creation of vibrant, vigorous habitats.The Eden Alternative shows us how companion animals, the opportunity to give meaningful care to other living creatures, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail. Since 1990, more than 400 nursing homes in the U.S. have been "edenized."Leland Kaiser, Ph.D.A recognized futurist and acknowledged authority on the changing American healthcare System, Leland Kaiser is a provacateur and mentor to many hospitals and healthcare organizations in the U.S. Lee is known for his ability to change the way organizations think. A dynamic, motivational speaker, he often talks about the built environment and its relationship to the quality of healthcare. Lee has mentored and influenced countless individuals and organizations, and is truly a "giant" in the healthcare industry.In his acceptance speech at the 2000 Symposium on Healthcare Design in Anaheim, CA, Lee told the audience of healthcare and design professionals that, "The two greatest design resources that we have are genetics, which is the most powerful technology available to any life form; and habitat redesign." He also said, "You're not just building buildings in this country, you're changing health policy." Robin Orr, MPHRobin Orr is best known for her work with Planetree, the country's first advocate for patient-centered care. As president of The Robin Orr Group in Santa Barbara, CA, Robin has been a consultant to many healthcare organizations, helping them to incorporate the human experience into their philosophy of care—which, of course, includes paying attention to the built environment.Robin was one of the founding members of the board of directors for The Center for Health Design, which she served on until 1998, and has been a frequent speaker at the center's conferences. She continues to be an advocate for the built environment, serving as one of the center's representatives to revise the AIA Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Healthcare Facilities. In addition, she has been instrumental in creating life-enhancing environments in many healthcare facilities across the country. If you would like to nominate an individual or organization for the center's 2003 Changemaker Award, please go to for more information. The award will be presented at HEALTHCARE DESIGN.03, the center's new conference produced by Medquest Communications, slated for December 7 to 10 in Miami, FL. Rosalyn Cama, FASID, is the president and principal interior designer of the interior planning and design firm CAMA, Incorporated in New Haven, CT; a board member of the Center for Health Design; and a past president of the American Society of Interior Designers. She can be reached at (203) 777-9921 or [email protected]. For information about The Center for Health Design, visit

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