Sustainable Operations Series: Embedding Sustainability in Hospital Operations through a Project-based Sustainability Training Program for Front-line Leaders

Recorded On: 04/15/2015

Session Description

In order to truly integrate sustainability into hospital operations, effective engagement of front-line leaders is required. Senior leadership endorsement is a necessary prerequisite, but champions who are leaders of front-line staff are critical to educate and engage. At University Hospitals in Cleveland, OH, we piloted a sustainability training program for front-line leaders across disciplines at one of our community hospitals in 2013. Prior to the training, we found in a survey that these leaders viewed sustainability primarily as something that is "tacked on" to business as usual, and often cited recycling as the sole example of sustainability that they could think of. The training session was a full day that started with a brief didactic presentation on sustainability in healthcare as well as a review of the health system and hospital's strategic priorities - including efficiency, wellness, quality & safety. Subsequently, the participants developed project ideas that would advance the organization's strategic priorities in a way that integrated principles of sustainability. The teams executed their projects and were asked to provide report-outs to a panel of senior leaders three months later, with a "winning" team being recognized based on a rubric that included the project's impact sustainability and contribution to the organization's strategic priorities. Projects were extremely impactful and high quality, including a chemotherapy waste reduction initiative and an employee wellness program - the projects went well beyond recycling and included innovative thinking about sustainable business practices. After the session, participants indicated in a survey that they were highly satisfied with the experience and were able to cite many more examples of how sustainability is applicable in their work compared to the pre-session survey. Hospital and health system leaders also indicated satisfaction with the quality of the projects executed as a result of the training, and felt that the program was effective in advancing key strategic priorities of our organization. As a result, we repeated the program for another of our community hospitals with similar positive results, and plan to continue offering the program systemwide. In this session, leaders from UH Geauga and Ahuja Medical Centers, the hospitals that have offered this sustainability training program to date, will share the story of developing, executing, and evaluating this training program as a case study that should help other hospitals and health systems to consider the development of a similar program for their own managers.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe strategies to integrate sustainability principles with common hospital strategic priorities including wellness, efficiency, safety, and quality
  • Plan development of project-based sustainability training program for front-line hospital leaders
  • Outline case study of successful sustainability training program development, execution, and evaluation that resulted in integration of sustainability principles in advancing hospital strategic priorities


Julie Novak, Director of Operations and Accreditation, University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center

Julie Novak is the Director of Operations and Accreditation at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center in Chardon, Ohio. University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center is a 226-bed, nonprofit acute care facility that provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient services. Julie received her Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University and her Master in Business Administration degree from Lake Erie College. Julie is a member of the senior leadership team at Geauga Medical Center and is responsible the organization's Quality & Risk Management, Environment of Care, and Sustainability.

Danialle Lynce, Human Resources Manager, University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center

Danialle Lynce, SPHR, CPC, currently holds the position of HR Manager for University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, where she is a member of the administrative team that sets direction for the hospital. When she joined UH in 2006, Danialle served as the HR Manager at University Hospitals Extended Care Campus and in an Organizational Development & Learning capacity with UH. Prior to joining UH, Danialle worked with manufacturing companies Avery Dennison in Painesville, OH, and Kennametal Inc. in Solon, OH. Spanning her long career in HR, Danialle has also assumed roles in sales and in compliance, giving her a well-rounded business experience. Danialle prides herself on being a thoughtful, engaged business leader with a deep expertise in human resources. Danialle earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and is a certified Sr. Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) as well as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC). Danialle loves to cook, travel, and push herself to be the best.

Matthew Pietro, Sustainability Specialist, University Hospitals Health System

Matthew Pietro serves as the Sustainability Specialist for University Hospitals Health System in Northeast Ohio. He has worked as a Development Associate for the New York Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. Returning to Cleveland, Matthew served as Interim Education and Outreach Coordinator for Cleveland Clinic's Office for a Healthy Environment. He also co-founded a farm in urban Cleveland called Central Roots, which sells seasonal produce to community members and local restaurants. As UH's Sustainability Specialist, Matthew works with the system's Sustainability Manager, Dr. Aparna Bole, in the project management and execution of sustainability initiatives across the health system.


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60 Minutes Presentation Live event: 04/15/2015 at 2:00 PM (EDT) You must register to access.