The Center for Health Design- Member Spotlight: Kirsten Waltz

The Center for Health Design started the year with a member spotlight on SBA's own  Kirsten Waltz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED AP. Kirsten is EDAC-certified and is a strong advocate of The Center’s work.

Here is Kirsten's interview with The Center for Helath Design! 

Briefly, describe your current role.   

I am the President of U.S. Operations at Steffian Bradley Architects (SBA) and have experience with programming, planning, project management and design of inpatient and ambulatory care facilities, including teaching and community hospitals. I have extensive experience in managing healthcare projects from master planning through construction and have completed facility master plans for several hospitals. I’ve worked in SBA’s offices in Boston, London and am currently Principal-in-Charge of the Enfield, CT office. In Connecticut, I manage the office and I am the link between the Boston and Connecticut offices, which recently celebrated our 85th and 10th year anniversaries respectively. I enjoy working on all project sizes typically ranging from 5,000 sq ft departmental renovations to 450,000 sq ft new hospitals. I am passionate about incorporating an evidence-based design approach and addressing the smallest details while maintaining a broad overview of the entire project.


What led you to become an Affiliate member?

Being part of a community dedicated to the overall betterment of healthcare experience is directly in line with SBA’s firm dedication to the healthcare industry.  I was also drawn to the accessibility of the Knowledge Repository research and leaders within the industry.


Can you briefly describe your volunteer efforts with the Healthcare industry?

Over the past 10 years I have presented multiple times at the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference and I recently served as a juror on the 2017 HCD Showcase panel.  I just completed my first cycle as one of the tri-chairs for the Outpatient Group with the 2018 FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities.  I am looking forward to being part of the leadership team for the 2022 cycle with other CHD colleagues. Starting January 2018, I will be a member of the Academy of Architecture for Health Board an AIA Knowledge Community.


What have you liked most about being part of the CHD community?

The connections made with other industry leaders, encouraging relationships and knowledge exchange.  I’ve also enjoyed conversations with CHD leadership regarding evidence-based design and of course the online access to webinars.


What is your CHD go-to resource?

Using the Knowledge Repository as a research tool and the Safety Risk Assessment Toolkit for my projects to identify solutions for an evidence-based design approach. 


Is there someone who has inspired your work?

Having grown up in the healthcare industry, my dad, an orthopedic surgeon, and my sister, a pediatrician, have always inspired me.  Hearing about and seeing first hand their challenges and successes within their industry have been valuable.  On every project, when designing a care giver’s spaces, I’m motivated and inspired by their passion for caring.  Creating environments for the care team to treat patients and families focused on healing and team-based practices is my focus.   


What is one of your greatest professional achievements?

One of my greatest professional experiences has been my 10 year relationship with Baystate Children’s Hospital (BCH).  This journey started with a week-long experienced-based workshop in Las Vegas with the BCH leadership team and Baystate Facilities Manager, led by the Starizon Studio, and the Imagineers.  It was during this workshop where the guiding principle to create internal and external environments that foster both healing and a positive work experience, while projecting the appropriate image within the facility context, was born. This process developed a common brand and theme that can be seen throughout all of Baystate’s locations.  I’ve had the honor to work with BCH on multiple outpatient locations including the new specialty center, the inpatient unit Playdeck, PICU, infusion and procedure center and development of the NICU masterplan.  Improving the care for children will always be my most fulfilling and guiding achievement.  


What trends do you see emerging in healthcare design?

Lean planning, outpatient services within retail settings, infection control strategies, micro-hospitals and an evidence-based design approach to identifying solutions are emerging throughout our industry. More complicated procedures are shifting to the outpatient setting and incorporating into retail settings. This will leave the main inpatient hospitals to service the critical care population. The focus on patient-centered care will continue with an emphasis on the need to improve access to primary and secondary care for patients.


This interview can be found in The Center for Health Design's Affiliate Connection newsletter or online here 

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