News Releases

Maryland Health Care Facilities Recognized for Environmental Success

November 14, 2012

Baltimore, Md. – Five Maryland hospitals and one nurse were honored for their environmental health achievements with awards at the Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment’s (MD H2E) fifth annual Environmental Excellence in Health Care Conference, held today at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, presented five Trailblazer Awards. Trailblazer Awards are given annually to hospitals that have shown leadership in advancing sustainability in their operations. The 2012 winners are:

Deer’s Head Hospital Center – The first state hospital to win a Trailblazer Award, Deer’s Head demonstrated a reduction in its fuel usage, by developing an environmentally friendly method to manage utilities. Through an extensive energy management program, Deer’s Head will save more than 50 percent on utilities in the upcoming year.

Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) – This past year, GBMC has been dedicated to providing options for an improved diet for patients, employees, and visitors. During the first month after launching a campaign to promote healthier beverages, 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 (MUMH) – MUMH instituted a furniture and supply recycling database, New2U, which employees can access through the hospital’s intranet. When an employee attempts to purchase new items, they are first asked if they’ve checked the inventory. To date, 160 items have been donated, 354 reused in-house, and 166 sold to employees for personal use.  

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore – Sinai Hospital started an employee garden this year that has been extremely popular. Currently 36 gardeners are registered to work on the 18 plots, with one plot 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 as the project continues to “blossom.” 

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) – Nurses on UMMC’s 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.

Charlotte Wallace, RN, a pediatric nurse and sustainability coordinator for Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), was awarded the Nursing Leadership in Environmental Health Award. Wallace is one of only two nurses in the state to hold a sustainability position in a medical system. 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.

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools, and is ranked eleventh nationally. Enrolling more than 1,700 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.

Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E) is a technical assistance and networking initiative of the University of Maryland School of Nursing that promotes environmental sustainability in health care including pollution prevention, waste reduction, environmentally preferable purchasing, green building, and sustainable food practices. Participants include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, research laboratories, and other ancillary health care providers in Maryland.