Trees and Public Health: Saint Thomas Planting Project

Congratulations to Ascension Saint Thomas for the August 6 virtual groundbreaking for two new buildings: the Ascension Saint Thomas Rehabilitation Hospital and Ascension Saint Thomas Surgery & Critical Care Tower on the midtown campus. We are thrilled to partner with Saint Thomas to celebrate their 100th anniversary by doing what we do best: planting 100 trees! Ascension Saint Thomas is committed to urban green space as an important strategy for public health, as CEO of Ascension Saint Thomas Midtown and Ascension Saint Thomas West Fahad Tahir said in the ceremony (full video above):

“Midtown was founded in 1919, just 100 years ago, in the midst of the Spanish flu – the last global pandemic. So it’s appropriate that we are called to design the hospital of the future, the first hospital to be designed in this era and the first post-pandemic hospital, 100 years later.

So much has changed in society, and medicine and technology, over these past generations, and we have to be informed by that process. So the Midtown master plan is designed specifically for this next generation of being the hospital of the future. We recognize that medicine is more specialized than it’s ever been, and patients have developed a set of expectations regarding the way they experience their lives and the care that we deliver. So we have to be sensitive to the needs of our patients and the families in how we design the hospital of the future.

Today we break ground on the first in a series of hospitals, specialty institutes, and clinical programs that will come over the course of the next 2 ½ years. Altogether, with our partners, we will invest more than $300 million on the Saint Thomas Midtown Campus, and transform healthcare in this region hrough the insight and the moral leadership, not just the clinical leadership, to build healthcare that’s equitable, just, and appropriate. The last sentence of our mission statement is that we are called through our actions and words to focus on justice. That is the highest standard that we work to live up to in all our efforts.

As we work to design the Midtown of the future, one of the things we recognize is that downtown is changing around us and this modern landscape calls on us to develop a contemporary and accessible campus that’s sensitive to the end-to-end patient experience – from the moment that patients know they need care, to the moment that we’ve transitioned them back to their homes. So we’re sensitive to every step in that journey for the patients. Inspired by the vision of our physicians, we have patient and family advisory councils to specifically be with us every step of the way, to make sure our patients and families know that this is designed by them, for them, and with the vision of our physician leaders.

And not only do we want to develop great building with great clinical programs, we also want to be sensitive to the environmental impact of what we do. As we know, the changing landscape has also impacted the air quality of Nashville. So in partnership with Root Nashville, we are looking to add 100 trees in honor of our 100th anniversary to contribute to the air quality, breathability, and standard of living and health to the community.

Humans need trees to be healthy, and we are proud to work with healthcare professionals committed to this standard. Special thanks to Root Nashville’s advisory board chair NashvilleHealth for enabling this partnership.

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