Elaine Smith

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About Me


I am currently Masters student in Health Systems under the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. I was born in St. Louis, did my formative years in Pittsburgh, went to school at Auburn University (in Alabama for those of you who are not familiar), spent a year with AmeriCorps*NCCC volunteering around the country, and have now been in Atlanta since January.

I am very interested in using my technical skills to improve health care, particularly in the way of process flow improvement in hospitals. I graduate in December and am currently looking for a job, hopefully located in Birmingham, AL.

Outside of school, I tutor, volunteer at Ronald McDonald House, love live music and movies, and travel most weekends. I also have my cat


to keep me company at home and on road trips.

August 23 - Julia Jones

Julia Jones talk today made me really excited about this class. Her experience and passion in hospital design motivates me to really explore the topic and take full advantage of this class. I am interested in going to Hillendale soon (let me know if anyone else wants to go and we'll put a trip together) to see her "hospital of the future". After hearing the history, current situation, and goals of CHOA at Hughes Spalding, I have a better idea about the design focus. I am looking forward to the site visit to be able to put pictures with words.

August 28 - Dr. Zimring

Dr. Zimmering's talk today was fascinating. I am excited that one of our professors in the head of the Center for Health Design. It helped me grasp the idea of evidence based design today by categorizing design issues. By looking at noise, nature, light, and other features individually helped me begin to think on a microscopic level. This will help be focus on specific ideas for my design project. I appreciated the statistical evidence and references that I will be able to use to put reason and justification to ideas. Having the architecture firm present gives the discussions a "real-world" aspect that is atypical in academia.

August 30 - Hughes Spalding

5 observations

1) The Emergency Department space is ridiculously small and uncomfortalbe. There is a space for 7 patients to go - with only enough room for 7 stretchers. The area is not "kid-friendly" at all and terified me as an adult.

2) The current waiting room for inpatient care is small and uncomfortable. Because children have so many visitors (family, schoolmates, etc.) and many family members stay days and nights, the space needs to be comfortable for long stays.

3) The way-finding system is currently confusing. There are multiple entrances and few signs. I worked in this hospital for months, and could not have told you before today how to get to Radiology.

4) The means to trasport patients to and from Grady/Hughes Spalding (and also to Imaging), is through a dark and dingy tunnel that I think would terrify any child. I think there could be inexpensive methods to make the walls and experience more cheerful.

5) The materials of the hospital were not kid-friendly. The floors were made from cold, hard linoleum that do not look comforting and could cause injury if children fell. The walls were old and lacked stimulating and comforting images and colors.

3 conversations

1) The facility director spoke about the problems of the current space because the building is so old. It is very difficult to heat and cool certain parts of the building. Providing the most basic comforts is currently a challenge.

2) The architect of the new building discussed the problems in building a new building next to the old building while keeping the old building functioning. The transition is going to be rapid and hard and careful process planning needs to occur.

3) Julie Jones, COO, discussed how important and different design for children is compared to design for adults. The motivation to provide children a comforting environment that aids in healing is critical.