Environmental Initiatives at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
Motivated by our deep commitment to the health of women, newborns, and the communities of our region, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is a leader in advancing environmentally sustainable practices in health care.
Along with other UPMC hospitals and facilities, Magee is innovating and creating models for disease prevention and reduction, linking all aspects of our mission to greening initiatives and environmental health, safety, and stewardship.
Award-Winning ‘Green’ Innovation
On April 25 at the CleanMed Conference in Boston, representatives from Magee- Womens Hospital accepted the 2013 Environmental Leadership Circle Award. For the second year in a row, Magee has won this prestigious award presented by Practice Greenhealth.
There are 1300 member hospitals in Practice Greenhealth and only 29 have qualified for the environmental leadership circle. This award represents a commitment by Magee to environmental principles in education, clinical practice and sustainability.
Magee is recognized as a leader in creating education for healthcare providers, patients and the community around environmental health. Some of the accomplishments that led to this recognition are:
- Reduction in red bag waste and increase in recycling. Regulated medical waste accounts for 10.2% or our waste stream and recycling accounts for approximately 25%.
- Creation and maintenance of on-site organic vegetable and herb gardens. The produce is utilized in healthy menu options in the cafeteria, café’ and patient meals.
- Education provided to patients through prenatal classes, Green Parenting film, lunch n learns in the gardens, and cooking classes for cancer survivors utilizing produce from the gardens. The education department also offers a comprehensive class for staff and consumers, It IS Easy Being Green.
- Education for staff in orientation and our annual symposium for environmentally literate health care providers. Partnership with Allegheny Community College to create environmental health curriculum for nursing students.
- Formation of a community board and commitment to reducing obesity in Allegheny County through programs addressing healthy foods and food systems.
- Relamping of the Magee campus to replace old lighting with newer energy efficient bulbs.
- Silver LEED award for Magee’s new addition.
- Contribution to education beyond our community through presentations at national conferences such as AWHONN and CleanMed.
- Green OR Team. Partnership with University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering to study OR waste.
This honor would not be possible without the contributions of our multidisciplinary and dynamic Green Team. We also work with many community partners such as Phipps Conservatory, the Pitt Engineering School and Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC).
Judith Focareta Magee’s Coordinator of Environmental Initiatives, was privileged to accept the award along with some of our partners from the University of Pittsburgh and CCAC. In support of those injured at the Boston Marathon, Magee representatives wore Boston Strong T-shirts when accepting the award. Proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts go to OneFundBoston.
Magee’s Green Team
Our Green Team, comprised of a representative body of hospital staff, sets goals, reviews, and measures our greening initiatives in coordination with UPMC’s systemwide Green Team. We are buying, building, and greening our operations from supply chain to waste management.
Environmental health and sustainability continue to be part of the culture of Magee as our staff contributes in both small and more significant ways through recycling, choosing alternative transportation, counseling childbearing families about environmental health, utilizing “green” cleaning products, reducing red bag waste, and much more.
Since 2005, Magee has included environmental education in its programming for new parents, in patient education materials, and in its childbirth and newborn classes. We are committed to educating parents, caregivers, and the greater community in creating a healthy, sustainable environment for ourselves, our children, and our future.
In 2009 we began to offer a stand alone, comprehensive environmental health class for childbearing families. This evidence-based, free class teaches parents about common environmental hazards and how to avoid them through simple lifestyle changes. Environmental health education is included in the Magee prenatal/postnatal online newsletter.
Each spring the Education Department at Magee hosts an Environmental Health Literacy Symposium for health care providers. The purpose of the symposium is to educate health care providers around current research in the field of environmental health and to supply tools to assist them in counseling patients.
Read one helpful publication available through the University of California, San Francisco and developed with input from Magee educators.
Find out more information on health education at Magee and find class schedules on our Health Education Calendar.
Community Education and Advocacy Partnerships
At Magee-Womens Hospital we collaborate with a number of health care and community partners. Most notably in 2009, we partnered with Phipps Conservancy to create three organic courtyard gardens.
The vegetables and herbs are utilized in healthy foods for staff and patients. The gardens were made possible by a generous grant from the Heinz Endowments.
Our educators also work with tithe Center for Victims of Violence and Crime to plan workshops on environmental health literacy for health care providers working with under-served and minority communities.
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC shares in UPMC’s commitment to support systemwide waste reduction, energy efficiency, renewable resources, and conservation.
At Magee, we are advancing environmentally friendly and sustainable operations throughout our hospital in many ways.
- Neonatal Intensive Care uses plastic materials that are DEHP- and PVC-free
- Food service has replaced plastic and foam food and beverage containers with biodegradable corn and paper products.
- Implementation of alcohol recycling in our labs
- We have extensive recycling programs in place for paper, plastic, cardboard, batteries, fluorescent lights, medical, and hazardous waste.
- Use of nontoxic cleaning products
- Remodeling of our antepartum and postpartum units using sustainable and environmentally friendly materials.
- Purchase of new indoor air quality meter
- Instituted paperless meetings
Resources and Partners
Magee’s role as a health care leader and environmental steward has been recognized and supported by foundation funding from The Heinz Endowments and the Johnson Family Foundation.
Since 2005, we’ve utilized this specially-earmarked funding to expand our role in environmental community education, health change, and women’s and infants’ health research. Our leadership group comprises representatives from Magee’s major departments.
We’ve also partnered with other UPMC hospitals such as Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Center for Environmental Oncology at Hillman Cancer Center, UPMC Shadyside, as well as national organizations such as Physicians for Social Responsibility, Healthcare Without Harm, Learning Disabilities Association, Women’s Health and Environment Network, and Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.
Magee Women’s Research Institute
Dedicated to achieving excellence in research related to the health of women and infants, the Magee Women’s Research Institute has received special funding from The Heinz Endowments to conduct environmental health research.
The goal is to translate knowledge of environmental influences on women’s and infants’ health into improved health care, including prevention and intervention.
For more information on environmental initiatives and education at Magee, contact: