National Recognition for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability

For immediate release: June 06, 2014


Karen Warmkessel

410-328-8919 | [email protected]

Greening the OR

(From left to right) Jill Ciotta, RN, BSN; Martha "Marnie" Hoffman RN, BSN, surgical nurses; and Justin Graves, MS, RN, UMMC sustainability manager, with the award for "Greening the OR."

BALTIMORE – The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) has been recognized on both the state and national levels for its commitment to environmental excellence and sustainability.

Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization for health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations, presented UMMC with three awards this week at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition in Cleveland, Ohio.

UMMC became the first organization to receive a Circle of Excellence Award for “Greening the OR (Operating Room)," a new award recognizing environmental innovation in surgical practices. Operating rooms contribute significantly to a health care facility's environmental footprint and reducing their impact on the environment is important to increasing sustainability.

The medical center received another Circle of Excellence Award for reduction and appropriate disposal of hazardous chemicals, an integrative pest management plan and use of green-certified cleaning products.

In addition, UMMC received the Greenhealth Emerald Award, which recognizes health care facilities that have achieved improvements in their mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling and source reduction programs – above and beyond the criteria for the Partner for Change award. According to Practice Greenhealth, winning hospitals are further along the path to sustainability and show leadership in the local community and in the health care sector.

Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E), which promotes environmental health and sustainability in Maryland's health care community, also recognized UMMC this week with a Trailblazer Award at the Maryland Hospital Association annual meeting in Baltimore.

Trailblazer Awards are given annually to hospitals that have shown leadership in advancing sustainability in their operations. UMMC received the award for its sustainable food efforts, which include increasing the health value of the food it prepares and serves to its patients, visitors and staff, and hosting a weekly farmers market in partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

UMMC was one of four hospitals honored by MD H2E this year. It is the only hospital to receive a Trailblazer Award from MD H2E five years in a row.

Healthy and sustainable food has been a focus of UMMC's sustainability program since 2009. In 2013, the medical center:

  • Increased overall healthy food purchasing by 23 percent.
  • Reduced its meat purchasing by 8 percent by focusing on providing more balanced meals and increasing vegetarian options.
  • Decreased the number of unhealthy beverages by 11 percent and increased healthy beverage purchasing by 14 percent by providing healthier beverage options.
  • Launched a price incentive pilot program in the hospital's cafeteria, the Courtyard Café, cutting the price of select healthy items and increasing the price of select unhealthy items.
  • Converted an ivy bed into a productive herb garden for use in the UMMC kitchen.
  • Continued to host the University Farmers Market with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In 2013, the market was the first hospital-based farmers market in Maryland to accept SNAP benefits (food stamps), further expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables for residents of West Baltimore.