Designing for Low Income Healthcare Spaces [HSW]

This presentation will provide an overview of the specific design considerations required for low-income healthcare spaces. There will be a focus on discussing concrete examples that designers can implement to create calm, organized, and safe environments that promote healing and help build positive patient-provider relationships. The presenter will demonstrate many of these examples through before-and-after photographs from her professional work to deepen attendee understanding. Interior design for healthcare environments is a highly specialized field which requires a deep understanding of psychology, particularly the way in which a person's senses interact with the environment. This presentation will discuss design strategies that apply this knowledge, such as trauma-informed design and biophilic design, and how to generate built environments that make users feel desired emotions, like energetic, inspired, or calm. Additionally, there will be a brief introduction to the emerging discipline of neuroaesthetics, a sub-discipline of applied aesthetics. Because low-income healthcare spaces often have small budgets and complicated design needs, this presentation will provide recommendations on how to apply these evidence-based design strategies at a low cost but still achieve their desired effects. Attendees can expect learning outcomes and skills related to identifying low-cost ways to create impactful change for overall wellbeing, determining where in a low-income healthcare project capital should be invested, applying evidence-based strategies to reduce patient stress, and producing aesthetically beautiful designs that are modern and on trend yet also sophisticated and timeless.

Heather Jennings

Principal Designer

Blackwell & Jennings

Heather Jennings is the founder and principal designer of Blackwell & Jennings, a commercial health and wellness interior design firm based in Raleigh, NC. She seeks to design healing environments that reduce stress levels, improve patient outcomes, support pain management, and promote a sense of overall well-being for all users. Heather is passionate about helping clients bring productivity and well- being into their workspaces through thoughtful and innovative design.

Her work integrates evidence based techniques proven to increase creativity and make visitors feel welcome. She creates experiences that engage through natural materials and plants. She is fascinated in the way an interior space provides healing and comfort. She founded Blackwell & Jennings to create intentional healthcare spaces that are not only luxurious and beautiful but that are also more inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed. Heather’s identity as a cancer survivor shapes her empathy and understanding of the patient experience.

Heather is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. Her educational experience influenced her innovative spirit, love of functional design, and understanding of product sourcing. Living in New York City, Heather gained a deep understanding of retail, real estate, and commercial design. Heather is also a lover of the zeitgeist which influences her empathetic design style.

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