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 healthcare architectural profession.
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It is such an honor to serve as President of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) for 2021. While 2020 was challenging, pushed so many of us to extreme limits, and was certainly not what anyone expected, it proved that we, as an industry are flexible, resilient, and can make an impact on the healthcare design industry no matter where we work. I'm grateful and impressed by the grace of our immediate past president, Kirsten Waltz, for how she led us through this difficult year, responding to the pandemic with a Preparedness Assessment Tool for Alternate Care Sites and the live ArchMap database in addition to the normal duties of president.
I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to read Kirsten's Reflection on 2020.
We continue to build on the strategic plan set a few years back, allowing AAH committees to thrive in their areas of expertise thus fulfilling our mission of providing our membership with education and networking opportunities, including a virtual Academy update this past December where great ideas where shared among small networking breakout groups. A reoccurring theme that emerged from the separate discussions was around mentorship. I was fortunate to attend graduate school at Clemson University which offered me exposure to the Academy, participating in the STERIS Student Design Charrette, attending Healthcare Design Conferences, and sitting in course lectures from experts across our industry. I'm hopeful my term as president can offer mentorship in multiple ways to allow emerging professionals the resources they need to grow in their career. This year will continue to expand our partnerships and virtual platform in ways to both help our community grow and to expand our knowledge sharing. I'm excited to lead our organization this year and give back to our membership as so many have given to me.
COVID and the remote work environment has presented our industry with challenges and opportunities. Mentorship happens to fall in both of those categories and our Board felt we should make this a priority for 2021. While a formal program has not been part of the traditional Academy Committee structure, our goal for 2021 is to provide our membership with the opportunity to have established mentor/mentee relationships each can lean on and turn to for advice and guidance, especially in a time when most of us are not in an office and able to seek mentorship out on a daily basis. Mentorship should be a safe place to discuss goals, aspirations, and professional development in a judgement free zone. Our mentor/mentees will keep an open mind and remember we all have different pathways to explore in expanding our career in the direction desired.
We're entering into our 3rd year since the formation of the AAH Advisory group (comprised of volunteer leaders from local AAH groups) and what incredible momentum we've seen. Last year alone we had three new local KCs form and multiple local KC's start to join our bi-monthly calls to enrich our discussions. Goals for this year include:
Virtual Platform:Celebrating and enhancing our existing virtual platform will be important in 2021. Goals include:
This year has great potential for growth and connecting in new ways as we hopefully make our way into a steady rhythm of daily lives both personally and professionally. We've learned tremendous things about ourselves and our industry through this pandemic and I feel strongly we can build upon the positive lessons it has taught us. Cheers to 2021 and our 76th Anniversary!
Brenna Costello, AIA, ACHA, EDAC