Medical Construction & Design

MAY-JUN 2018

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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40 Medical Construction & Design | M AY/ J U N E 2018 | MCDM AG.COM One out of six Washington, D.C. residents receives medical, behavioral or social services from Unity Health Care, a local network of federally qualifi ed health cen- ters. D.C. residents are by no means alone in their reliance on such facilities. Across the nation, federally qualifi ed community healthcare centers provide services to more than 24.3 million people in under- served and low-income areas, and many of those centers are considered by residents to be integral parts of their respective communities. 1 To better serve one of those communi- ties — the Brentwood neighborhood, in Northeast D.C. — Unity turned to design as a tool for creating transformational experiences. That led them to partner with Gensler, whose health and wellness practice I help lead, and fabrics company Sunbrella Contract, which served as a research partner. Together, the three orga- nizations initiated research on the waiting area experience, which led to valuable key fi ndings and targeted design interventions that helped the facility to better serve patients, enhance the staff experience and strengthen bonds with the Brentwood neighborhood. Defi ning the problem With its unassuming mix of pre-war row- homes, retail strips and rail yards embroi- dered across the landscape, Brentwood bears little resemblance to the Washington of neoclassical monuments and K Street offi ce buildings. Yet the neighborhood sits three miles from the Capitol Dome. The demographic shifts and new devel- opments that have spread across D.C. in recent years are only now brushing against Brentwood's edges. So for the time being, the community retains a considerable share of older, low-income and under- served residents, many of whom depend on Unity's services. When those residents arrived at the previous incarnation of the Unity Brentwood waiting area, they were DESIGN Interventions Redesigning a waiting room for a federally qualifi ed health center BY TAMA DUFFY DAY | PHOTOS BY WRAY WARD

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