September 21-23, 2021
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The Leaflet Article

Featured Article:

Life is Uncertain. Eat Dessert First. (1)

Dr. Wayne Ruga, FAIA, FIIDA, Hon. FASID, Founder of the Symposium on Healthcare Design and Special Advisor to the HFSE, Founder and President, The CARITAS Project

Life is Uncertain.  Eat Dessert First. (1)

Consider this:

Are you the product of a world that has taught you to eat all your dinner first, then and only then you can have your dessert?

Is this remnant of childhood learning one of your ‘self evident truths’ (I must finish all my dinner before I can have my dessert) that invisibly informs so many of your daily life decisions and subsequent behaviors with ironclad, dogmatic beliefs - like – Saturday is my ‘towel laundry day’, and the laundry must be washed, dried, folded, and put away before any weekend relaxation can be considered, for example???

READ THIS AGAIN – Go back to the beginning, starting with the title and read every single word very slowly, thoughtfully, deeply and with the truthful consideration of the possible impact. And the liberating potential that these very few insightful words might bring to how you chose to live your life.  Thank you.

Please understand that the purpose of this brief essay is not to cause you to question your eating habits rather, it is to encourage you to attend this year’s Pre-Conference Workshop, specifically, and the entire Symposium, generally.

What, you might be wondering, does the Pre-Conference Workshop and the Symposium have to do with when I eat my dessert?  ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING…and that is the precise point.

The Symposium is a history-altering intervention to improve lives through the design of the environment.  Since the Symposium began, twenty-eight years ago, the world has changed tremendously.  As the world has changed, and the provision of healthcare has evolved, the Symposium has continued to serve as the leading edge classroom for the newest concepts, ideas, methods, equipment, and materials that enable environments to be designed to both support and further encourage meaningful improvements in lives, organizations, and communities throughout the entire world.

However, change does require change.  If you and I continue doing the same things we did yesterday (like always eating our dessert last), nothing new or different can happen for us.  Do you get the point?  As our world changes ever faster, so must we. 

No doubt, you are familiar with Gandhi’s assertion, that: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.  As the emerging science of Generative Space design has made evident being ‘the change’ is the new frontier in designing more life enhancing environments. 

This year’s Pre-Conference Workshop is an intense dose of change:

The featured project is a Chicago-based exemplary facility that in addition to brilliantly reflecting the theme of this year’s Symposium, At the Intersection of Design and Wellness it is dramatically transforming lives and its overall community through the design of its life-enhancing environment. 

All Workshop attendees will not only learn from its designer and local experts, an immersive tour of the project and lunch are included in the Workshop registration.  This project case study is a unique opportunity to learn about community health and wellness from a project and its team that are actually doing it, and you will have a first-hand opportunity to see and experience it being done…real-time.

Additionally, the Pre-Conference Workshop is a living laboratory for demonstrating how Generative Space design can create A Place to Flourish®.  Its Guest Faculty of Generative Space experts have each significantly improved lives, organizations, and communities through design of the environment to create places that are flourishing. 

The Guest Faculty will guide us in learning how to bring these improvement strategies back home so that these improvement strategies and methods can be used by each of us in ways to meaningfully improve any, or all, settings - - - way beyond the Navy Pier, Chicago, and the confines of North America.

In fact, each one of these Generative Space experts can share their own documented accomplishments with you, as evidence of how they are each using their own practice of ‘being’ in their work of improving lives, organizations, and communities through design of the environment. 

By now, you must have gotten the point,  it’s not necessary to say any more about how the Symposium has, and does, contribute to improving healthcare, as the world continues changing and healthcare evolves further.  Now, it is simply up to you to make a decision:  do you want to be in the new (recall Shakespeare’s timeless question: ‘To be, or not to be…’), or continue as you are today – it is as simple as making a decision, and the choice is yours.  If you do decide to be in the new (or have already decided, or even ARE already being in the new), there is no better place to invest in your advanced learning about designing for health and healthcare in the new, ever evolving world than at this year’s Symposium, beginning with its Pre-Conference Workshop, on Monday, 5 October.                          

I look forward to being with you, there.

By, Dr. Wayne Ruga, FAIA, FIIDA, Hon. FASID
Founder of the Symposium on Healthcare Design and Special Advisor to the HFSE
Founder and President, The CARITAS Project
(and a self-confessed Saturday ‘towel-laundry-a-holic’)

(1).  Quote attributable to Ernestine Ulmer (1892 – 1987), original source unknown.

‘A Place to Flourish’ is a Registered Service Mark of The CARITAS Project.  2015.
All Rights Reserved.

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