Big Award a Big Deal for Health and Healing Committee

Health and Healing Committee co-chairs Joel Wish and Penny Andrews discuss the group's $25,000 award from National Office Furniture.MADISON - For the past seven years, the Health and Healing Committee has quietly found ways to improve patients' experiences at UW Hospital and Clinics.


Now the group is poised to make some big noise.


The committee was the recipient of the second annual "Gift of Inspiration" from National Office Furniture, earning a $25,000 award that will dramatically change what the group can accomplish.


"It's winning the lottery, so to speak," said Joel Wish, a member of the hospital's health psychology team. He co-chairs the committee with chaplain Penny Andrews.


The diverse group of committee members expects to generate plenty of ideas for using the $25,000.


UW Hospital and Clinics COO Ron Sliwinski and interior architect Ardis Hutchins accept a $25,000 award from National Office Furniture officials."It will be so much fun to see how it's spent," said Ardis Hutchins, a committee member and UW Hospital and Clinics interior architect who nominated the group for the award last fall at a trade conference.


Some of the Health and Healing Committee's past work toward creating a soothing, comforting environment at the hospital includes:

  • The creation of three in-house television channels and videos targeted to patients, including yoga, tai chi and relaxation
  • The "Green STEPS" program to improve the hospital's environmental impact
  • "Quieting the Hospital," an initiative to reduce unnecessary noise
  • A "Sound Health" program to incorporate live music - mainly piano and strings - into some areas of the hospital.

"It's amazing to see what very easily could be a very cold and sterile environment very differently," National Office Furniture general manager Kevin McCoy said. "What you have achieved here is not normal, from what we see. We sell into a lot of health care environments; this is unique. You have something really special here. ... We're excited to be just a small part of what you're doing here."


Most notably, the Health and Healing Committee accomplished these tasks by pleading their cases to the various departments represented on the committee;  - there is no formal budget for the group.


"Truthfully, a month or two ago, we were at the point of trying to figure out who was going to pay for pieces of paper that would go into patients' rooms," Wish said.


That shouldn't be a problem in the future.


"Penny hit the nail on the head - there's a lot we can do that doesn't cost much," UW Hospital and Clinics Volunteer Services Manager and committee member Michael Rosenblum said. "So money like this will go a long way."



Date Published: 05/17/2010

News tag(s):  ouruwhealth

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