After spending several nights in the local children’s hospital with my daughter this week, I’ve seen first-hand how important it is for the health care industry to focus on environmental issues. Thankfully, there is already a industry-specific sustainability program in place, the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI). More than 500 hospitals will commit to a three-year sustainability program as part of the HHI.


During this three-year program, participating hospitals will address six environmental areas. These six topics are called HHI Challenges and include:


  • Engaged Leadership - supporting an organization-wide sustainability initiative
  • Healthier Foods – healthier food choices for not just the patients but also staff and visitors
  • Leaner Energy – reducing energy use and the institution’s carbon footprint
  • Less Waste – reduce waste and also boost recycling rates
  • Safer Chemicals – using more earth- and people-friendly chemicals
  • Smarter Purchasing – sourcing environmentally preferable products

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative website has a directory of hospital systems participating in the challenge and unfortunately I didn’t see the children’s hospital my daughter stayed at on the list.


Although the hospital isn’t participating, I did notice that the cafeteria food looked a lot different than I remember. My daughter could choose her own food items from a room service menu that included a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and vegetarian options.


Perhaps our local hospital system and the two children’s hospitals will see the impact of the first three-year sustainability challenge period and sign on for a future challenge.

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.