Academy of Architecture for Health

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The Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) provides knowledge which supports the design of healthy environments by creating education and networking opportunities for members of – and those touched by – the health care architectural profession.

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President’s Letter

By Vincent Della Donna AIA posted 12-11-2018 10:01 PM


As I reflect on all that has been accomplished in 2018, I want to thank the AAH Board, Committee members, and the AIA staff for their dedication, hard work, and tireless efforts throughout the year. I introduced 2018 with a goal to ensure strategy is maintained and administered and our mission…provide knowledge which supports healthy environments through education and networking… and vision…serving as the authoritative voice for the design of healthy environments…are realized. The tactics used to realize the goal were twofold: focus the AAH Board on strategy rather than operations and increase our relationships both internally (AIA) and externally.

Strategy vs. Operations

Strategy drove all discussions and decisions by the Board and Committees. You may have noticed far more communication from and interaction with our Committee Chairs at the various conferences and Academy events. AAH Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs are engaged and actively carrying out their operational responsibilities with conference planning, coordinating content for webinars, facilitating recognition programs for emerging professionals and health care projects, interacting with the next generation in scholarships and fellowships, and supporting research.

As a supporting organization for the three national conferences, PDC, SLS and HCD I was very pleased to note that each had record attendance and an increase in program content for 2018. The 2018 AAH Webinar series continues to raise the bar in both attendees and content. Both the AAH STERIS Student Design Charrette at HCD and the AAH Student Design Challenge at PDC included new collaborations and continued to provide a great venue for student/professional interaction. The success of these events is due largely to the work and vision of our Committee members and the support of our sponsors.

The Reinvention Council comprised of emerging architects and healthcare leaders representing large academic medical centers and small community hospitals from around the country is now fully engaged and will have their final meeting for 2018 later this month. Their role is to advise the AAH to focus on what is important today and re-imagine what is possible tomorrow.

Increase Relationships

I am proud to report that we have made solid progress with increasing our relationships this year. Within the AIA we have opened collaborative dialogues with several the Knowledge Communities. As an example, we participated with the Academy of Architecture for Justice in their annual conference as they focused on behavioral health issues in the Justice system. The AAH provided subject matter expert members that helped review abstracts and participated in a join panel session at the conference. We are collaborating with the Committee on Design to enhance our AIA AAH Healthcare Awards program with invited members as jurors for 2019.

This was also a year of celebration. We celebrated decades of support at our AAH Update reception at HCD Conference in November, honoring 30 years of support from STERIS for the AAH Steris Student Design Charrette, 25 years of collaboration with the Center for Health Design and 20 years of support with Herman Miller for the Herman Miller Scholars at HCD. 


We also focused on strengthening connections with our local AIA health components. The Advisory Group comprised of leadership from the local AIA chapter Health Groups throughout the US had its inaugural meeting in July at the Summer Leadership Summit and continues to meet regularly throughout the year. Members of our board had the privilege to attend several local chapter meetings and provide a brief summary of national AAH initiatives as well as meet local members and answer questions. This group of thirty plus local healthcare leaders is charged with providing guidance, thought and insight to the AAH to forge a stronger and deeper connection between local AIA health components and the AAH to directly connect to our membership.

I’ve enjoyed my time immensely as AAH President and I look forward to continued growth with our 2019 AAH President, Tushar Gupta. Tushar will ensure the Academy Board and Committees focus on doing everything we can to enhance your experience. If you are interested in getting more involved or have any questions, please contact me at

Thank you,

Vincent Della Donna, AIA, ACHA
AAH President 2018