Health Center News, Uncategorized

Green Clinics: Sustainable Building in the Health Center Movement, Part 1

By Yvette Ammerman

There’s a new theme in the Community Health Center movement—at least in the Western Region where I work.  Last week I was in rural Texas—so rural I didn’t see a traffic light or any bars on my cell phone for a while—and I visited seven great clinics. Several health clinics were especially noteworthy.

First, I went on a tour with Mike Campbell, CEO of La Esperanza Community Health Centers.  We met his friendly staff, toured his beautiful clinics, and visited his environmentally sound “Green Clinic.” The high-ceilinged A-frame structure allowed ample sunlight in, and also provided efficient heating and cooling. It was decorated with calming earth colors, giving it a warm, amicable feel. It was a place where you knew staff and patients alike would be well taken care of, and even had huge cisterns outside to capture the rain and recycle it to water the lush landscaping surrounding the clinic. The philosophy behind these new sustainable clinics is to use fewer local resources such as electric power and potable water, and also to benefit the whole community by providing a healthy environment for staff and patients.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my blog, where I share my impressions of other health centers!