Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Title:               A New Direction for Wellness
Byline:            Where we live and work!
Author:            Dorette Nysewander, EdD, “DrD”

For thousands of years [wellness] has been a staple within communities of people if they choose to participate. Whether during the era of Hippocrates “Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food” or today’s practice of prevention, tools for making healthy lifestyle choices have been available. Thankfully sanitation and public health initiatives continue to provide all populations with basic needs for care. So do you want to know what the new direction for wellness is? It is called the Wellness Amenity Program Standard! This enables built environments to be readily self-assessed against a baseline of evidence-based criteria that defines health promotion.

May 13, 2010 Martha Johnson, Administrator, General Services Administration (GSA) signed the Prospectus Number: PHW-2011 Alteration Wellness and Fitness Program Various Building. From then until now projects in Federal buildings are being identified with new workplace standards, integrating mobility strategies and streamlining portfolios by consolidating at a higher workplace density. Operating costs are being reduced by embracing sustainable, high performing design and systems. To address the limits of public sector budgets, governments will increasingly be partnering with private-sector developers, facility managers, and other providers to deploy state-of-the-art workplace requirements.

As wellness focuses on the dimensions of the total person, the WELL Building Standards continues the continuum of care by using evidence based building materials and designs to support individuals living and working 90% of their lives within structured environments. These seven areas include:
We have all been encouraged to “Go Green”, however these standards take health and wellness to another level of living. Genzler, a well-known architecture firm is currently supporting the Health Human Services Agency HRSA, Rockville, Maryland by building a modern, sustainable office buildings that are cost-efficient, utilizing the latest technologies while meeting security, sustainability and workplace design. Look at the wellness innovations of Gensler’s designs!1

What are some differences? Air: Achieve purification of indoor air quality with strategies to remove airborne contaminants. Water: Optimize water filtration and treatment quality while promoting accessibility. Nourishment: Encourage healthy eating habits with food choices, behavioral cues and nutrient quality. Light: Minimize disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm through design, light output, lighting controls and task-appropriate illumination levels to improve energy, mood and productivity. Fitness: Utilize building design technologies and knowledge-based strategies to encourage physical activity with numerous opportunities for exertion in meeting daily fitness regimens. Comfort: Create an indoor environment that is distraction-free, productive, and soothing with solutions that include design standards of thermal and acoustic controllability of comfort. Mind: Support mental and emotional health through environmental design elements, relaxation spaces, and state-of-the-art technology2.

What this means to you? As a student of health and wellness there are multiple entry points into the field. If you have a background of interest in architecture this could define another direction for a career in wellness. As individuals living and working indoors, technology is continuing to ramp up standards to support our health… this is just one more!

1Gensler. (2015). Top trends shaping design. pg. 23. Retrieved from
2International Well Building Institute. (2015). Well building standard. Retrieved from  


Post a Comment

About Me

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
View my complete profile