UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, May 2013

UCSF Medical Center Wins Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change with Distinction Award

UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Children’s Hospital received a 2013 Partner for Change with Distinction Award from Practice Greenhealth for integrating environmental responsibility into its operations.  Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community committed to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.

The Partner for Change, with Distinction Award, issued on April 24, 2013 at the CleanMed Conference & Exposition, is very competitive award that recognizes health care facilities that have achieved improvements in their mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling and source reduction programs – above and beyond the Partner for Change basic criteria. This includes at least 20 percent recycling, generating 10 percent or less regulated medical waste, a more extensive sustainability program and more programs covering a wider range of areas (such as food, energy, water, chemical minimization, and more).  These facilities must also show leadership in the local community and in the health care sector.
Clean Med 2013

“UCSF was selected as an Award winner ‘with distinction’ because they have demonstrated achievements far beyond the guidelines for the Partner for Change Award,” said Laura Wenger, RN, Executive Director, Practice Greenhealth. UCSF is truly demonstrating leadership for the future of health care.”

As evidenced in a recent Health Care Research Collaborative study, “Can Sustainable Hospitals Help Bend the Health Care Cost Curve?” introducing environmental sustainability measures in hospitals not only results in significant savings, it won’t increase operating costs.  The implications are clear — given the return on investment, all hospitals should adopt and expand their sustainability programs. 

Gail Lee, UCSF Sustainability Manager, took the lead on gathering the necessary data and completing the Practice Greenhealth award application.  “As summarized in our first UCSF Medical Center Sustainability Report, UCSF continues to push the envelope on integrating sustainable operations into the medical center.  This recognition could not have been made without staff supporting our efforts.  From clinical staff to engineers, they all deserve to be recognized for moving UCSF Medical Center forward on our sustainability path.”

Dan Henroid, medical center director of Nutrition and Food Services (NFS) and sustainability officer, was among those involved with applying for the award. “We are proud to continue be cited as a leader in developing and implementing programs that protect our environment and the health of our patients, staff and community,” said Henroid. “We look forward to working with Practice Greenhealth to shape the future of health care sustainability.”

Jack Henderson, Assistant Director for NFS, received second place in the new Exemplary Food Service Professional Award at the conference.  He led efforts to sign the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge and developed the Nutrition and Food Services department sustainability policy. He leads his team to increase sustainable food purchases from 8.5% in 2010 to over 14% in 2012. He helped develop their waste management practices, including waste oil donation to a bio-diesel cooperative, donating leftover food to local pantries and implementing a robust recycling and composting program achieving 85% diversion.  He is a founding member of the very successful Health Care Without Harm Bay Area Hospital Leadership Team, a model which is now being implemented in several regions around the country.  He champions local and sustainable foods for the Medical Center patients, staff and visitors.

Some highlights of the UCSF Medical Center sustainability program were recently highlighted in the Medical Center Sustainability Report and summarized in a recent post last month.

Highlights of Waste Reduction and Other Sustainability Initiatives

• Completed construction of two LEED-certified facilities that will save energy throughout their lifetime
• Replaced toxic cleaners with certified Green Seal cleaning products
• Purchased low-flow toilets, rechargeable batteries and conversion to paperless record-keeping
• Composed 90% of food waste from cafeterias, staff lounges and patient rooms
• Certified four “Living Green Offices” to reduce energy and waste
• Organized “Bike to Work Day” and added 256 bike parking spaces and 40 carpool parking spaces.
• Donated over 13,000 lbs of medical equipment and supplies to international hospitals/clinics
• Serving organic baby food at the medical center.

About Practice Greenhealth

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the health care community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. For more information on Practice Greenhealth, visit www.practicegreenhealth.org.