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KU named to AIA Health Design Consortium

Mon, 12/15/2014

LAWRENCE — The American Institute of Architects (AIA), along with the AIA Foundation and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), has named the School of Architecture, Design & Planning as one of 10 charter members of the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium. The consortium will help fund basic research on how design affects public health.

“The research teams chosen for this consortium include some of the nation’s leading thinkers into the growing connection between design and public health,” said AIA CEO Robert Ivy. “Their research has the best potential for affecting policy across a wide swath of issues at the intersection of the built environment and public health.”

“Architecture and design are tremendously influential in helping determine treatment outcomes as well as the health of the public and the environment,” said Mahbub Rashid, associate dean and professor of architecture. “This is already a well-established area of teaching and research within the Architecture Department’s Health + Wellness program, so we are delighted to be selected.

“Among other things, our research will examine how to design health care settings for improved interaction and communications, and for reduced hospital-acquired infections and environment-associated injuries,” he said.

Other topics for study by the group include the influence of micro- and macro-scale environments on healthy behaviors, improving the efficiency of outdated facilities in rural health care systems and using energy-efficient transportation and infrastructure to create a sustainable environment.  

“Given the tremendous opportunity afforded by a membership in the consortium and the tremendous depth of knowledge and expertise available at KU, we decided to engage faculty members from other departments and schools, including engineering, design, urban planning, sociology, public health and medicine,” Mahbub said. “The group’s focus will be on combining traditional approaches with cutting-edge technologies and applications to solve complex health and wellness challenges."

KU faculty who will be working on these research projects and their departments include:

Department of Architecture: Hui Cai, Jae Chang, Joe Colistra, Shannon Criss, Dennis Domer, Farhana Ferdous, Mahbub Rashid, Paola Sanguinetti, Hugo Sheward, Kent Spreckelmeyer and Frank Zilm.

Department of Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering: Hongyi Cai, Brian Lines and Mario A. Medina

Department of Design: Richard Branham, Greg Thomas, Jeremy Shellhorn

Department of Mechanical Engineering: Christopher Depcik, Elizabeth Friis and Sara Wilson

KU Medical Center: David Cook, Edward Ellerbeck, Richard Gilroy and Stephen Waller

Department of Sociology: David Ekerdt

Department of Urban Planning: Bonnie Johnson, Anne Dunning, Ward Lyles and Stacey S. White.

The AIA is a Washington, D.C.-based professional organization for architects. It represents 83,000 architects and allied professionals. Its AIA Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropic extension of the institute whose intent is to preserve, honor and advance excellence in design for the benefit of the public.

The ACSA has 250 member schools. These include all accredited architecture programs in the United and Canada, candidate membership for schools seeking accreditation and affiliate membership for schools with two-year and international programs. It represents 5,000 architecture faculty members.



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