As the Jacksonville chapter of the Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) approaches its one-year anniversary in June, it seems only fitting that its most recent meeting at the Mayo Clinic J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center also be its most successful.

Using RS&H’s working relationship with the Mayo Clinic’s Campus Planning & Design group, Michael Compton, AIA, founding chair of the Jacksonville AAH, facilitated the educational tour for several AAH members and clinicians from across our region.

The AAH is organized by local chapter committees of the American Institute of Architects. Its mission is to improve both the quality of healthcare design and the design of healthy communities. And, at a time when so much focus is placed on collaborative, patient-centered care, the AAH Jacksonville chapter has also placed much of its focus on the spirit of collaboration.

The group aims to bring together architects, designers, clinicians, and facility managers to discuss the state of healthcare architecture and how our design solutions can result in clinical success and patient satisfaction.

While there are thousands of AAH members across the country, until summer of 2016, there was a void in North Florida. It was after participating and presenting at the Healthcare Design Conference Institute of Patient-Centered Design competition in 2014 and 2015 that Compton, a healthcare architect at RS&H, realized the academic discourse happening on a national stage was absent from his professional sphere in Jacksonville. So he founded the AAH Jacksonville Chapter.

“My inspiration was simply to continue the dialogue at the local level of advancing the practice of healthcare architecture, and affiliating and advocating with others that share these priorities,” Compton said.

The recent Mayo Clinic tour was the first of its kind for the group, but its popularity ensured it won’t be the last. The facility is a premier simulation center, where medical teams can practice several developed scenarios in specific disciplines, from anesthesiology to emergency medicine.

The Mayo Clinic’s simulation center staff provided a narrated tour through the extensive facility with hands-on demonstrations of the situational rooms. One demonstration included the especially impressive 3D multimedia device known as an Anatomage table; the Mayo Clinic’s is one of only two such devices in all of Jacksonville.

The table converts the multiple cross sections of traditional CT and MRI images to make a 3D model by which physicians and surgeons can manipulate to understand patients’ anatomy and identify and troubleshoot possible risks with procedures. Witnessing this demonstration provided a powerful message to AAH attendees about how such technology will improve health care in Jacksonville.

But, it also raises the question: How can we design for technology?

After all, it is the purpose of the AAH to provoke and participate in academic dialogue that can lead to practical application and to bring together the many hands that touch a healthcare space to discuss the current state of healthcare architecture, where it’s going, and how we can all better participate to create a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach to design.

For more information, please contact Compton at michael.compton@rsandh.com or 904-256-2262.