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SEPTEMBER 24-26, 2024
Austin Convention Center - Austin, Texas

The Leaflet

Advisory Board Back in Chicago

February 14, 2024

At the end of January, advisory boards members once again met in Chicago for a day long brainstorming session. Over 20 members of the all-volunteer group traveled to Chicago to meet in person with another 9 members joining us virtually.  The primary goal of the advisory board meeting is to ensure that the Symposium addresses the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing the healthcare design and construction industry today. We start with asking the group “what is keeping you up at night?”

This year the rule was you could not say you “staff shortages” or “too much work” because everyone is in that same boat. One of the main points of discussion was the pressing need to effectively pass on the accumulated expertise of the baby boomers to the younger generation of healthcare design professionals. Millennials, characterized by their digital fluency, innovative thinking, and collaborative approach, represent the future of the industry. However, there are a lot of challenges including with the transfer of knowledge between these generations including differing communication styles, technology integration, cultural shifts and retention of institutional knowledge.

Baby boomers prefer face-to-face interactions and formal communication channels, while millennials gravitate towards digital platforms and informal networks. While the boomers may possess a deep domain knowledge they lack familiarity with the latest technologies shaping healthcare delivery or even offer productivity.  The meeting underscored the importance of fostering a culture of continuous learning and mentorship within healthcare and AEC organizations.  As baby boomers retire or transition into advisory roles, there is a risk of losing institutional knowledge vital for maintaining operational efficiency and quality of care.  Finding a way to bridge the communication gap, integrate new technologies, creating platforms for intergenerational collaboration and strategies to capture institutional knowledge will be critical as this transition continues.

In 2023 we launched the Symposium Emerging Leader Scholarship program to give recognition to individuals with less than 10 years (non-consecutive) of experience in healthcare design and construction including research and/or education.  We had nearly 25 scholarship recipients at the event in Charlotte and they were invited to interact and engage with our advisory board with the hope that we’ll not only support their professional development but also find the next generation of advisory board members who will help us continue to shape the event in a way that serves their needs.

These conversations are going to need to continue not only at board meetings but at the annual event each fall. We also hope to incorporate sessions that talk about healthcare organizations and AEC firms that are finding ways to effectively bridge the communication gap, use new technologies, create platforms for the intergenerational collaboration and capture institutional knowledge. The future of the industry depends on it.


Jenabeth Ferguson
Vice President, Symposium & Expo
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo

PS. If you have a suggestion or comment about the Symposium please feel free to reach out at any time at [email protected].