Think Globally, Act Locally


Report on Gupha meeting in Genoa July 2002 Unedited Version

Members of the Global University Program in Healthcare Architecture GUPHA gathered in July for its third annual forum hosted by Clemson University at their villa in Genoa. Gupha a growing world-wide network of academic researchers assembled to consider the delivery of health care in 2050.

An international mix of over 30 scholars assembled from the USA, Europe and Far East. As well as founder members Texas A&M and Tokyo Universities, a small number of ex MARU graduates were also present. Although the 2050 theme may seem distant and fuzzy, many of today's students are likely to be faced with the complex challenge of late twenty-first century demands during their carears.Fortunately for the future survival of GUPHA the diverse cross section of delegates ranged from founder Professors Yasushi Nagasawa and George Mann, to much more raw but committed specialist. Amongst these came UK representatives from De Montford University, Architects for Health, and Nightingale Associates. Amongst other universities attending were departments from Helsinki University of Technology, Aristotle University of Thessalonika, Univsita di Pavia, Carleston University Ottawa, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Manila University Philippines.

The program consisted mainly of self introduction presentations, workshops and strategic sessions on an appropriate infrastructure to develop the network. Presentations proceeded with the Nuffield UK 2020 study followed by the Future Hospital Project for the Baltic Nations. Individual presentations varied in scale from the Texas vision for the giant McGill University Health Centre in Montreal including parking space for 3500 vehicles, to the Tokyo volumetric study on aspects of the personal space "bubble" All forms of services were featured from home care, care for the elderly and mainstream critical care. Allotted ten minute each, some like the fascinating Vienna Disaster Mitigation projects seriously tested the endurance of the audience by indulging for nearly an hour. Other subjects included healing environments, arts, landscape and nature, industrial design and post digital communications and interaction. During the brainstorming workshops three discussion groups addressed and technology, health care facilities and design quality.

In particular two of the presentation enabled the forum to focus on health care delivery in 2050 Most graphic was the time-diagram on the history of Healthcare Architecture movements presented by Stephen Verderber from Tulane University who cleverly projected trends well into the mid century. Drawn from a USA perspective his chart clearly suggested six waves in the development of western healthcare facilities. The latest wave in the fold chart commenced with the National Health Reform and Planetree concept to healing in-place and virtual medicine. The visionary extrapolation flagged the demolition of mega hospitals around 2020, nature as therapy, home based ICU modules, resource conflict and "water wars".

Conjecture and visionary flights of fantasy received an abrupt reality check from the WHO colleagues. Participants were brought down to earth and subjected to some startling statistics on bewildering growth in HIV, TB, ageing and patient violations. Predictions in world population indicate Total Fertility Rates TFRs will grow from 6.1 billion in 2001 to 9.3 billion by 2050. All projected growth is to take place in today's developing countries, yet half the world currently exists on less than $2 /day. Health and Well-being is the mission of WHO, and as well as improving health their prime goals are responding to peoples expectations and protection against costly medicine and procedures. Annual spending in the USA is $1500 per person, EU $41 with the world wide average of 14$/person. Health accounts for 10% of the worlds product with French health service achieving the best value for money. Overstretch and burdened it would be unwise for the WHO itself to formulate worldwide standards for best practice and planning guidance. Following diplomatic exchanges Gupha was offered the challenging opportunity to present their academies with a project brief to produce concept designs for future health care delivery and treatment configurations in developing countries. The programme is to draw up the proposal with students expected to present their schemes for next summers forum to be held in Geneva, the home city of WHO headquarters.

The Genoa forum was a exhausting but stimulating educational event in which WHO had effectively challenged Gupha for the right to include the G word in its title banner. Gupha members are now charged with unpicking the WHO brief and developing an Internet information network to encourage further committed researchers and educational establishments to join. With increasing focus on well-being and healthcare delivery there is a clear and urgent need in the UK for adequate resources to train students for skill shortages in design and procurement. For further information regarding GUPHA membership and the WHO proposal please contact Yukari Oka Yukari Oka Visiting Assistant Professor School of Architecture Clemson University 145A Lee Hall, Clemson SC 29634-0503 tel. 864.710.9646 fax. 864.646.6146 joka@CLEMSON.EDU.

17th July 2002


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