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​UPMC Receives Heinz Endowments Grant to Foster Environmentally Responsible Health Care

PITTSBURGH, January 10, 2007 The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has been awarded a $250,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments to help develop a comprehensive environmental stewardship and disease prevention program, building on already extensive green efforts throughout the health system.

Among other steps, UPMC will create a new senior leadership position, director of environmental initiatives, to promote healthy work and patient care environments in all UPMC facilities. The director will develop system wide environmental policies, borrowing from successful practices around the world, and coordinate research initiatives for improving environmentally friendly operations.

We are pleased to have the support of The Heinz Endowments in taking our environmental efforts to the next level, said William Smith, UPMCs director of environmental health and safety. UPMC already has demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship, but with this grant, we intend to become an industry leader in defining best practices in this area for the benefit of our employees, patients and communities.

The Heinz Endowments have been supporting environmental efforts at various UPMC facilities for several years. This latest grant is part of a longer-term initiative to integrate health care and the environment, said Ellen Dorsey, Ph.D., environment program officer at The Heinz Endowments. Other hospitals in the United States are building green and buying green, she said. But UPMC is advancing a whole new model that links environmental concerns to its health care mission. She noted that UPMC is committed to expanding research on environmental links to disease, to training medical professionals to recognize such links, to community outreach and education on environmental issues, and to modeling prevention by greening the health systems own operations.

Already, UPMCs award-winning environmental efforts include removal of all mercury-containing items found in lab thermometers, thermostats and other devices at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside; recycling of over 1 million pounds of paper annually; and planning for the installation of a solar panel array on the roof of the Hillman Cancer Center. UPMC also is building one of the first environmentally sustainable pediatric hospitals, where resources such as energy, water, materials and land will be used more efficiently. Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for two buildings on its new campus, under construction in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh.

In September, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment gave its prestigious partner recognition award to Magee-Womens Hospital and the Hillman Cancer Center for their commitment to reducing the impact of their operations on the environment and the local community. Magee-Womens also received the organizations Making Medicine Mercury Free Award, a citation for hospitals that meet the challenge of nearly eliminating mercury from their facilities.

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