Gundersen Health System on international stage

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Gundersen Health System took to an international stage again recently to share its work at the intersection of clinical care and sustainable business practices. Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO emeritus and executive advisor, presented Jan. 17 in Beijing at the International Workshop on Green and Sustainable Healthcare Systems and shared sustainability best practices with senior Chinese research and policy officials.

One key outcome of the conference was an agreement between United States-based Health Care Without Harm and other conference attendees to continue work, over the next five years, to strengthen cooperation and establish an exchange and communication mechanism between the U.S. and China on climate, including its impact on global health.

“Chinese leaders for the first time publicly admitted that 1 million Chinese die each year of air pollution and that they are a low tier country when it comes to health and the environment, ” notes Dr. Thompson. But soon, they will be a leader. Last year China put up two wind turbines–and a football field of solar panels–every hour for the whole year!”

For information on Gundersen’s sustainable best practices, visit www.gundersenenvision.org.

 

Gundersen earns prestigious environmental awards

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For the 10th consecutive year, Gundersen Health System has been recognized by Practice Greenhealth for its environmental initiatives.

Gundersen received the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award and four Circles of Excellence Awards last week during CleanMed, the national environmental conference for leaders in healthcare sustainability, .

“This recognition is meaningful confirmation by our peers that we are on the right path,” explains Mark Platt, senior vice president of Business Services at Gundersen. “But we don’t do this work for the fancy awards. We do it because it is the right thing to do for our patients, their families, our staff and all the communities we serve. The work we do embodies the mission and values of Gundersen Health System.”

According to Cecelia DeLoach Lynn, member of the Practice Greenhealth Awards team, “The Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award is a competitive award, encouraging hospitals to continue their pursuit of sustainable innovation across the healthcare sector. Gundersen Health System has been identified as one of the leaders in this sector, driving sustainability and embedding environmental stewardship into the very core of its culture.”

Cecelia explains that the Circles of Excellence honor up to 10 of the highest performing hospitals in 10 areas of sustainability expertise. Gundersen has been awarded the Circles of Excellence in Leadership, Waste, Energy and Climate. “These awards highlight those hospitals that are pushing the envelope and driving innovation in sustainability performance in each sustainability category,” Cecilia explains.

“We are one of only a few healthcare organizations in the country that have sustained this high level of environmental stewardship and been recognized for a decade or more,” says Tom Thompson, sustainability coordinator at Gundersen. “While this is a great accomplishment, our work isn’t finished. We are always coming up with new projects and initiatives as we continuously improve projects and processes for even better outcomes.”

To learn more about Gundersen’s Envision program, go to gundersenenvision.org.

 

Happy Earth Day from Envision

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Earth Day was first celebrated more than 45 years ago, and is still celebrated on April 22nd of each year.  Rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects are occurring worldwide today in observance of our planet and its protection.  Perhaps you have plans to participate!

At Gundersen, however, Earth Day is more than just a single day.

Being environmental stewards is a system-wide mission for Gundersen.  Gundersen has been nationally recognized for their innovative environmental initiatives, and is considered a leader in healthcare sustainability.  Improving the health of the communities Gundersen serves is a role taken very seriously, and is a shared responsibility of all employees at Gundersen.

One example of this is Gundersen’s current “Cut the Cup” employee challenge.  The goal of the challenge is to bring awareness to the number of disposable cups used at Gundersen, and to encourage employees to reduce their use of throw-away cups.  To participate in the challenge, employees must use reusable cups for the beverages they consume at work.  Employees are having fun with the challenge by taking creative photos of themselves using their reusable cups, and submitting them to a “show your mug” contest.  Every quarter, a prize is awarded to the employee with the most creative “mug shot”!  Check out some of the pictures below!

Are you doing anything at your workplace and/or home to support a healthy environment?  We want to hear about it!  Tell us by using the comment feature below this post.

Happy Earth Day!

www.gundersenenvision.org

Wisconsin leaders discuss impact of Paris sustainability agreement

Two months after 200 nations ratified a global agreement on sustainability and the environment, Wisconsin leaders are reconvening to continue the discussion on how to build upon the agreement for better health.

Jeff Thompson, MD, executive advisor and chief executive officer emeritus, who represented Gundersen Health System last December at the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, will be on a panel Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for The Promise of Paris, session two in the Connecting Wisconsin and the UN Climate Talks series.

The Promise of Paris, hosted by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and the University of Wisconsin Global Health Institute, features experts and innovators in environmental and sustainable change. A live stream of the session will be available.

Gundersen Envison, is helping organizations turn theory into action and results. For more information and to schedule a speaker, envision@gundersenhealth.org, call toll-free (855) 669-1653 or log on to gundersenenvision.org.

Gundersen shares best practices in webinar tomorrow

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Dr. Thompson atop one of Gundersen’s wind turbines.

Gundersen Health System is taking center stage to promote its success in weaving sustainable practices into healthcare, to benefit patients and the community and reduce costs.

In a live webinar Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. Jeff Thompson, MD, executive advisor and CEO emeritus, shares best practices for leadership in sustainability programming and challenges attendees to integrate environmental improvement initiatives into traditional patient care and healthcare practices.

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.

During this event, attendees will:

  • Understand why leadership is critical for sustainability initiatives to reach their full potential and maximize return.
  • Explore leadership’s role in sustainability programming.
  • Learn about Practice Greenhealth, Health Care without Harm and the community of organizations that come together to share best practices.
  • Recognize that sustainability staffing pays for itself through cost savings associated with environmental improvement activities.
  • Take away three examples of where doing the right thing reduced costs.

In 2015 our organization was honored with Practice Greenhealth’s Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award, which is given to healthcare facilities that exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in healthcare.

We also received Practice Greenhealth Circle of Excellence awards for leadership, waste management, energy and climate.

Gundersen is the first known healthcare organization to achieve energy independence, producing more energy than it consumes from fossil fuels.

Gundersen Envison, our environmental program, can help your organization turn theory into action and results. For more information and to schedule a speaker, email envision@gundersenhealth.org, call toll-free (855) 669-1653 or log on to gundersenenvision.org.

Gundersen achieves another energy independence milestone

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Gundersen Health System has reached another significant milestone in its effort to be energy independent.

In November 2015, Gundersen produced more energy than it consumed from fossil fuels, the first calendar month since the system announced its first days of energy independence in October 2014.

Achieving energy independence was and remains a challenging and moving target. Hospitals typically use two and a half times more energy than commercial buildings. In Wisconsin, which has one of the most energy-intensive climates in the nation, the challenges are amplified.

Gundersen has met these challenges with fossil fuel energy efficiency improvement of over 50 percent, resulting in a cumulative financial savings of more than $8.5 million from conservation alone. In addition, the health system established regional partnerships for energy generation, including dairy digesters, wind turbines and a landfill gas-to-energy initiative. Local projects also include geothermal energy and a biomass boiler.

“Producing more energy than we consumed for an entire month is a remarkable achievement,” says Jeff Rich, executive director of Gundersen Envision, the organization’s sustainability and environmental program. “We’ve said from the beginning energy independence is a work in progress and we are committed to continuous improvement. Our staff and our local and regional partners should be credited for helping move us closer to the ultimate goal: sustained energy independence that leads to healthier patients and communities, a better environment and lower costs.”

To learn more about Gundersen’s sustainability efforts, visit gundersenenvision.org

 

Gundersen, world leaders convene for environment, public health talks

Gundersen Health System is showing an international audience health systems can take care of patients and the environment simultaneously, while reducing costs.

Jeff Thompson, MD, executive advisor and chief executive officer emeritus, is representing Gundersen this week at the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. Gundersen is one of 16 United States health systems – the Health Care Climate Council – asking global leaders to protect human health through environmental action.

“It is our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve, which includes taking action to improve and protect our environment, reduce our waste and lower our costs,” Dr.  Thompson says. “Not every healthcare organization makes this a priority, but we have shown it is possible to provide exceptional patient care and exceptional care for the environment.”

Dr. Thompson will participate in a panel discussion titled “Live from Paris: Connecting Wisconsin and the UN Climate Talks.” The panel, hosted by the University of Wisconsin Global Health Institute and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, features experts and innovators in environmental and sustainable change.

The panel discussion is scheduled Thursday, Dec. 3, at 10:30 a.m. Central time. You can watch a live stream here.

To learn more about Gundersen’s sustainability program, including our energy independence achievement, log on to gundersenenvision.org.

Click here for more on the UN Climate Change Conference.