Event: Tulane School of Medicine- Medical Student Government + GAPSA (Graduate Professional Student Association) lecture series
Title: Architectural Design as a Determinant of Health
Date: January 14, 2021
Our understanding of the role the environment plays in shaping health has expanded immensely over the last few decades. A growing body of empirical data and evidence-based design research demonstrates that architecture impacts care delivery as well as health outcomes. This talk explores built space as an important determinant of health and questions whether the built environment itself should be considered alongside other parameters of care, analogous to our medical interventions.
Historical examples of the convergence of hospital architecture and medical practice exist. The design of the tuberculosis sanatorium during the early 20th century illustrates this infrequent intersection; the healthy building emphasizing contact with nature, developed to prevent the spread of contagions by isolating patients and preparing them for a return to normal life. In the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we can revisit the sanatorium model to de-medicalize architecture, and emphasize infection prevention and control. It is imperative that we consider a convergence of the healthcare and design disciplines in order to promote innovative solutions to augment built environment resilience and subsequently support equitable, safe and efficient care delivery.