Ellen Woods / Sun Staff Photographer Winter is coming as the trees bear fruit. Monday November 23 2009

November 1, 2015

New Institute Will Focus on Improving Health Care

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An inaugural celebration will be held today for the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures — a new institute formed by a collaboration between the College of Human Ecology and the School of Hotel Administration.

The institute, located in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, will focus on improving aspects of the healthcare industry through a multidisciplinary approach.

Prof. Rohit Verma, hotel administration, executive director of the institute, detailed the institute’s mission to cross disciplines and develop multiple strategies for improving healthcare.

“The new institute was officially launched on July 1 this year and its mission is to provide a multi-disciplinary platform for integrating hospitality, policy and design thinking to enhance service excellence in healthcare, wellness, senior living and related industries,” Verma said. “The institute’s mission includes curriculum development, research and engagement with industry.”

Verma stressed the innovativeness of the institute, saying this new approach has the potential to redefine the experiences of professionals and patients in the industry.

“What has never been done before is the integration of these disciplines to promote a more holistic view of health care,” Verma said in a University press release. “The institute will focus not only on clinical care, but will pay close attention to the patient experience, the well-being of the family and the long-term emotional needs of patients and their loved ones, all carefully informed by a perspective on design.”

The institute is also led by associate directors Prof. Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, design and environmental analysis, and Prof. Brooke Hollis MBA ’78, policy analysis and management, associate director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration.

In the release, Shepley emphasized the institute’s “transdisciplinary” approach, saying it offers a unique perspective from which to view the intersections of the disciplines.

“Our approach is more than interdisciplinary,” Shepley said. “It’s transdisciplinary, in the sense that it’s generating a whole new field, rather than having different disciplines work in parallel. We’re excited to be a part of this adventure, which we hope will broaden perspectives regarding the future of health and, through our research, enhance the quality of people’s lives.”

In its mission statement, the institute acknowledges the “unprecedented challenges related to cost and quality of care” in today’s healthcare industry, but states its intent to work through multiple channels to find industry solutions.

“To achieve [its] goals, the institute will support educational programs; conduct and disseminates research; host roundtables, conferences, and other forums for engagement and active dialogue between industry and academia; and develop resource database of case studies, examples, and solutions that will be freely available to everyone,” the mission statement reads.

As a part of its plan to support educational programs, the institute plans to develop “across-college dual degree program options,” along with “concentrations, minors and other programs” related to the multidisciplinary field.

Today’s inauguration celebration will “include panels on integrating hospitality principles with healthcare operations, and enhancing health and wellness facility design,” according to the University. There will then be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the institute’s suite in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall.