Five Maryland hospitals and one nurse were honored with awards for their environmental health achievements Nov. 14 at the Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environments fifth annual Environmental Excellence in Health Care Conference at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore.
Charlotte Wallace, RN, a pediatric nurse and sustainability coordinator for Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md., was awarded the Nursing Leadership in Environmental Health Award. She has implemented many environmental initiatives at AAMC, including money-saving recycling programs, a farmers market, and the addition of environmental health information in newborn classes.
Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, presented five Trailblazer Awards to hospitals that have shown leadership in advancing sustainability in their operations. The 2012 winners were Deers Head Hospital Center in Salisbury and four Baltimore facilities Greater Baltimore Medical Center, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Sinai Hospital, and the University of Maryland Medical Center.
According to a news release, Deers Head is the first state hospital to win a Trailblazer Award as it demonstrated a reduction in its fuel usage by developing an environmentally friendly method to manage utilities. Greater Baltimore Medical launched a campaign to promote healthier beverages. In the first month, hospital sales of non-sugary drinks exceeded sugary ones for the first time on record. GBMC reduced food waste by 1,100 pounds per month from March to August of 2012 and installed hydration stations which encourage refilling reusable bottles with filtered water.
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital instituted a furniture and supply recycling database, New2U, which employees can access through the hospitals intranet. When an employee attempts to purchase new items, they are first asked if theyve checked the inventory. As of mid-November, 160 items had been donated, 354 reused in-house, and 166 sold to employees for personal use.
Sinai Hospital started an employee garden, with 36 gardeners registered to work on the 18 plots. One plot is allocated to a family of six in the community. Employees have grown radishes, broccoli, spinach, herbs, and much more. The committee plans to incorporate more community and food-service benefits.
Nurses on the University of Maryland Medical Center mother/baby unit launched the New Moms Pilot to Reduce Newborn Exposures to Pesticides program, the first of its kind. Nurses educate new moms on the health risks associated with pesticides and give them a tool kit, which includes an educational DVD, a booklet, and non-toxic pest control, cleaning, and baby care product samples, all provided in a reusable tote.