Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth honor leaders in sustainable health care

Innovators to be recognized during annual CleanMed conference

Charlotte Brody Award Winner

[San Diego] Every year, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth honor exceptional individuals who have shown leadership in the areas of health care sustainability, waste reduction, sustainable food, innovation, and social change. This year’s award winners were honored during CleanMed, an annual health care sustainability conference hosted by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, May 7-9 in San Diego.

Environmental Health Hero Award Winner — Kathy Gerwig

As institutions for healing, hospitals have the potential to do more than simply treat patients. They also have the opportunity to heal the planet. In 2018, Health Care Without Harm has chosen to bestow its highest honor, the Environmental Health Hero Award, to Kathy Gerwig, who literally wrote the book on “greening” health care to heal the planet.

Gerwig, vice president of employee safety, health & wellness and the environmental stewardship officer for Kaiser Permanente, is responsible for developing, organizing, and managing nationwide environmental initiatives for the not-for-profit health plan/hospital system serving more than 12 million members. Under her leadership, Kaiser Permanente has become widely recognized as an environmental pioneer. She has testified before the U.S. Congress on the need for federal chemical policy reform, and her book “Greening Health Care, How Hospitals Can Heal the Planet” examines the critical role health care organizations can play in addressing serious environmental threats to health.

Visionary Leadership Award Winner — Bob Biggio

The Visionary Leader Award recognizes senior-level health care executives who are impacting the world with significant contributions to health care sustainability through groundbreaking and innovative strategies, and mentorship. This year’s Visionary Leader Award winner is Bob Biggio.

Biggio, Boston Medical Center (BMC) senior vice president of facilities and support services, has been instrumental in driving BMC toward its goal to become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2020. Biggio put environmental stewardship initiatives at the forefront of BMC’s $300 million campus redesign and led the installation of a rooftop garden that harvested 5,000 pounds of vegetables for patient meals and the hospital’s cafeterias, food pantry, and teaching kitchen in 2017.

Charlotte Brody Award Winner — Katie Huffling

Created in honor of a lifelong advocate for social change, the Charlotte Brody Award recognizes nurses who go beyond everyday nursing endeavors to proactively promote and protect environmental health and who generate significant outcomes from their efforts

Health Care Without Harm is pleased to award this year’s Charlotte Brody Award to Katie Huffling, the executive director of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. While practicing full-time as a nurse-midwife, Huffling developed an assessment tool for nurse-midwives and other health professionals to assess for environmental exposures in pregnant women that is being utilized in obstetrical practices across the country.

In 2016, Huffling organized a Climate Change and Health Nursing Roundtable at the White House, which led to the formation of the Nursing Collaborative on Climate Change and Health. Huffling was an editor for the e-textbook “Environmental Health in Nursing” which won the 2017 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year in Environmental Health.

Stephanie Davis Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Award and Scholarship Winners

Named after a pioneer in health care waste reduction, the Stephanie Davis Award honors individuals for their work in advancing sustainable health care.

Zach Burns
During his first year at Nova Southeastern University, Burns co-founded the student group Plant-Based Healthcare to engage classmates in education and advocacy around reducing meat and dairy consumption to prevent chronic illness, mitigate climate change, and support animals. He aspires to incorporate political advocacy into a clinical practice at a community health center.

Jamie Dwyer
While pursuing an MBA, Dwyer learned to tackle plastic waste with an entrepreneurial approach and created a concept that recycles plastic waste into 3D printer filament. She is currently engaging with executive leadership to promote sustainability initiatives throughout Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital that reflect triple bottom line values.

Natasha Wasim
As a first-year master of public health candidate at the Yale School of Public Health, Wasim hopes that by identifying climate change mitigation strategies in occupational settings, prevention measures can be taken early for health disparities in the work field as well as in surrounding communities. She is a Yale Climate Change Health Initiative Fellow and the lead researcher in the Green Clinical Project at the Yale Office of Sustainability.

Laria Pippen
In addition to being a bedside nurse for 11 years at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Pippen developed and initiated an environmental stewardship initiative, bringing her passion for waste reduction to the hospital. She currently chairs a 15-member green team committee and is leading multiple projects in sustainability.

Health Care Culinary Contest Winner — Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Hospitals from across the country submitted flavorful and healthy recipes to the Health Care Culinary Contest. Entrants embodied the “less meat, better meat” philosophy, and utilized local and sustainable ingredients.

Health Care Without Harm is proud to present the award for its inaugural culinary contest to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for their red dahl recipe. Created by Norbert Bomm, the corporate executive chef for Northwestern, this recipe showed culinary creativity and sustainable food sourcing, exemplifying how hospital food can be healthy for people and the planet.

Climate and Health Innovation Award Winner — Rochester Regional Health

The Climate and Health Innovation Award recognizes a hospital or health system for innovative work addressing the health impacts of climate change. This year’s Climate and Health Innovation Award winner is Rochester Regional Health.

In 2017, Rochester Regional Health became the first health system to publicly announce a 100 percent renewable electricity goal by 2025. They have a 500-kilowatt solar array at system headquarters and are working to bring other projects online including a 5.5 megawatt solar farm, additional on-site solar, and an off-site 10 megawatt wind farm.

“Sourcing carbon-free and renewable energy is in line with our mission to support a healthier community,” said Dr. Eric Bieber, Rochester Regional Health president and CEO. “If this can be done in Rochester, New York, it can be done anywhere.”


About Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform the health sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice.

About Practice Greenhealth

Practice Greenhealth is the leading membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, delivering environmental solutions to more than 1,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems.

About CleanMed

CleanMed is the premier global conference on environmentally sustainable health care. CleanMed 2018 is the 15th international conference to catalyze environmental improvements in the health care sector. CleanMed’s mission is to accelerate the health care sector’s commitment to environmental sustainability and regenerative health to improve the health of people and the environment.