Health Care Without Harm Honors 2014 Award Winners at CleanMed Conference

Award Winners Honored for Commitment to Environment and Health

Cleveland, OH – This week Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) honors five outstanding individuals who have contributed to the development of sustainable health care. The annual awards are bestowed at CleanMed, a major health care sustainability conference co-hosted by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth. This year’s event is taking place in Cleveland, OH, June 2-5.

Environmental Health Hero

Dr. Peter Orris, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Environmental Health Hero Award, the highest honor bestowed by HCWH. “Dr. Orris has been a global ambassador for environmental health to the healthcare sector. He was one of the founders of Health Care Without Harm eighteen years ago and has been a powerful physician advocate and messenger ever since,” says Gary Cohen, HCWH president and co-founder. Dr. Orris is presently senior adviser on environmental health issues to Health Care Without Harm. He is Professor and Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, and Chair of the Research Collaborative of Health Care Without Harm at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. Dr. Orris is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He holds Professorships on the faculties of the Northwestern and Rush Medical Schools in Preventive and Internal Medicine. He currently sits on the State of Illinois’ Board of Health, and the Health Professionals Advisory Board of the US/Canadian International Joint Commission. He is a member of the American Medical Association and has been a representative on the Council of the Chicago Medical Society and a delegate to the Illinois State Medical Society for several decades. He has edited and authored numerous articles, book chapters and governmental reports in the field of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and maintains an active clinical and teaching practice.

Dr. Orris’ environmental health work reaches well beyond his practice in the U.S. Dr. Orris was an international leader in placing environmental health on the agenda of international health professional organizations like World Medical Association and World Federation of Public Health Associations and engaging them in practices and policies to eliminate mercury use in healthcare delivery. Dr. Orris has served as adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as well as Federal, State and Local Governments, environmental organizations, labor unions and corporations. He was also a catalyst and key validator for advancing and finally winning a provision in the Minamata Convention that mandates the phase out of mercury measuring devices in healthcare globally by 2020. Now he is turning his attention to climate change and building a global consensus in the healthcare sector that healthcare should lead by example in eliminating our addiction to fossil fuels, becoming early adopters of renewable energy and raising their voices to support policies that would rein in climate change and put us all on a sustainable path that supports a healthy climate and healthy people.

Charlotte Brody Award

Health Care Without Harm, along with The Luminary Project, has named Judith Focareta RN, MEd, LCCE, the 2014 recipient of the Charlotte Brody Award. This Award was created in 2006 by HCWH to honor Charlotte Brody, RN, one of the founders of HCWH and a lifelong advocate for social change. The award recognizes a nurse’s endeavors towards “brilliantly lighting the way to a healthier environment and inspiring other nurses to do the same.” The Luminary Project encourages nurses to engage in environmental health and to tell their stories to inspire others.

Judith Focareta is a maternal-child nurse. She holds a master’s degree in health education with a specialty in environmental health. Since 2003, Judy has been employed by Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC where she coordinates the sustainability and environmental health education initiatives. As such, she oversees the creation of educational materials and classes on environmental health topics for staff and consumers. She also teaches a comprehensive class on environmental health for childbearing families. As part of her job, she acts as a resource for hospital departments in sustainability initiatives and coordinates Magee’s “green team” and its activities. Judy has been a presenter at national conferences on topics related to environmental health and published articles in the Journal of Childbirth Education and the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. At Magee, Judy leads a dynamic, multidisciplinary Green Team. 

Stephanie Davis Waste Reduction Scholarship

Stephanie C. Davis worked tirelessly on health care waste reduction and pollution prevention. With her death, the health care sustainability community lost a great and tireless champion. With the support of Health Care Without Harm, Stephanie’s colleagues, friends and family established this Award and Scholarship to recognize and support those in health care organizations who work to “green” health care.

The 2014 Stephanie Davis Waste Reduction Scholarship winners are Carmen Jacobsen – Milwaukie Hospital, Milwaukie, OR; Kirstin Knox – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and Orly Stampfer – Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR.

Carmen Jacobsen has worked as an RN for 11 years, primarily in perioperative departments at Providence Milwaukie Hospital in Milwaukie, OR. She has served on the green team as a staff RN for a number of years and has been the Chair of the team for the past two years. She has also been a member of the regional sustainability council for Oregon for the past year.  

Kirstin Knox is a junior faculty member in Internal Medicine at the Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). As an academic hospitalist, Kirstin has recently worked to engage current stakeholders at HUP to start a greening/sustainability team. The inaugural meeting was held in March 2014. Kirstin is advocating for partnership with the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) and has received initial enthusiastic support from stakeholders and leadership. The sustainability team is now establishing a team framework, designating leaders in the HHI challenge areas, and choosing initial waste reduction and greening projects that will demonstrate team efficacy, provide visibility, and generate momentum to support larger scale efforts at HUP and throughout the health system. 

Orly Stampfer has a BA in Environmental Science from Columbia University. Her interest in health care sustainability began while working for Global Links, a medical surplus recovery organization, where she had the opportunity to establish a recycling program, calculate carbon footprints, write a green cleaning policy, and guide proper collection and disposal of chemicals. She is currently assisting Oregon Health and Science University’ green team, and is planning to establish a Portland-based medical surplus recovery organization with a focus on long-term, sustainable public health partnerships. 

Heath Care Without Harm, an international coalition of more than 500 organizations in 53 countries, is working 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.