Adding a new layer to the health map – Your built environment

I’ve explored the social determinants of health in the places where we live/work, etc, (see: Photo and Map Friday: The Social Determinants of the NoMa Neighborhood, Washington, DC USA | Ted Eytan, MD) and recently I got to connect with the team at the US Green Building Council (@USGBC) to go another layer deeper – the buildings we inhabit.

USGBC operates GBIG which is the Green Building Information Gateway:

GBIG is a global innovation platform for exploring and comparing the green dimensions of the built environment. GBIG is the premier search engine for green building data, providing insights that enable better buildings and communities.

We did a search on Kaiser Permanente’s brand new Westside Medical Center, whose green activities are linked in the images on the right. I also produced an image of the hospital collection in GBIG, which shows that the Westside Medical Center is also by far the largest building in this list with LEED Gold certification. You can read more about Kaiser Permanente’s commitment at Westside hospital, as well as Kaiser Permanente’s really big commitment: Kaiser Permanente Share | Kaiser Permanente to Pursue Minimum of LEED Gold for all New Major Projects

DC Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector, Sustainable DC

All of this matters for health because buildings consume most of the energy (and contribute most to green house gas emissions) in a community. In Washington, DC, the the amount us 74 %. And, Washington, DC, is doing something about it, which you can see on its LEED dashboard, showing that the city is a national leader in green buildings. GBIG also reports at the region level, by the way, you can see DC’s latest data here.

How does this connect to health?

You can tell from reviewing the dashboards on GBIG that the LEED credit categories are all health related. USGBC also has its version of a total health physician, Matt Trowbridge, MD, who’s working to connect the categories more directly to health: Research Preview: Review of Health Language in LEED :: GBIG Insight (The actual review is here)

I can imagine a world where the goodness of the Community Health Needs Assessment Platform, which points to the impact of place on health, is combined with GBIG, which points to the impact of the physical place you are in could be powerful tools for prevention. Could hotspotting be a thing of the past, because the spots never get warm to begin with?

As always it’s nice to (a) see and meet members of the medical profession who are branching out to discover and impact what makes people healthy, (b) see and meet members from other professions who welcome our collaboration in the health they are producing, (c) know that #GlassMakesFriends.

Photos below: (1) Left to right: Judith Webb, APR, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, Mira Panek, Project Manager for GBIG, Ted Eytan, Chris Pike, PhD, Director, Research (@ChrisPyke), Matt Trowbridge, MD, Assistant Professor, Associate Director, Emergency Medicine Research, and (2) Matt Trowbridge, MD


Ted Eytan, MD