James J. Atkinson, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED AP
Vice President; Director, Health Planning
How has ACHA certification enhanced your career in healthcare architecture and/or design?
I have always strived for design and planning excellence in my architecture career and I believe that the credentialing from the American College of Healthcare Architects provides our healthcare clients a level of confidence that they are getting an independently verified healthcare architects that has superior skill, experience and knowledge.
What would you say to anyone interested in the field?
It is an exciting time to be at the forefront of creating environments that promote health and well-being. The "Healing Power of Place" has long been a challenged component of the healing process and arguably one of the most important. It is an obligation and privilege to contribute to the collective body of knowledge that links the physical environment to people's health. We can deliberately use good design and planning to alleviate stress and ultimately improve patient outcomes. I cannot think of a pursuit more noble than improving the human condition.
What led you to becoming ACHA certified?
I became a board certified healthcare architect because of my belief in improving the human condition through healthcare architecture and a desire to continuously add to the body of knowledge through knowledge sharing. I believe the ACHA is the organization to do that.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you personally or your practice?
The pandemic certainly has created challenges for our profession. The healthcare landscape has drastically changed for the front-line users and hospital leadership. Having to deal with this crisis doesn't leave much time to spare on non-patient care activities. The normal face-to-face interactions that we commonly had before COVID-19 have all moved to be virtual. We have developed better techniques to collaborate more efficiently, so the caregivers can get back to their core mission of taking care of patients.
Degree and Institution: Master of Architecture + Health, Clemson University
Jim is recognized as an expert in the planning and design of complex, state-of-the-art health care facilities, bringing transformative ideas to a variety of health care planning and design projects. Throughout his 29 year career, he has become a recognized national expert in designing flexible environments that encourage collaboration, accommodate advanced technology, and support leading research to develop positive outcomes. Jim's projects have received many design awards, which include national, as well as, international design recognition. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and has been published in a number of healthcare architecture publications. Check out his blog for Healthcare Design Magazine at http://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/blog/8579
Below is a list of some of Jim's more notable projects that have received awards:
- Al Moosa Rehab and Long Term Care Hospital in Al Ahsa, KSA, received the Healthcare Revolution - Innovation Award. 2018
- The New Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas received the AIA Central States - Design Excellence Award, 2018
- Humber River Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, received the Modern Healthcare Design – Gold Award in 2016 and the Canadian Green Building Council - Excellence in Green Building Award, in 2018
- Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE brought home two awards from the Building Healthcare Middle East Awards - Best Hospital Design and Best Sustainable Hospital Project in 2015
- Jim is also a guest lecturer, visiting critic and jury member at Clemson University and Dar Al-Uloom University Healthcare studio. For the past five years Jim has also served as a jury member for Healthcare Facilities Symposium - The Symposium Distinction Awards.
- Jim is proud to have contributed a chapter in the 2019 book,
Architecture and Health: Guiding Principles for Practice, by D. Battisto. Jim is the coauthor of Chapter 16, "A patient and family-centered care environment that connects the hospital to the city's urban fabric and serves as a civic anchor"