IC4HD interviews: Debra Levin, The Center for Health Design

Debra Levin

IC4HD had the chance to get an exclusive interview with Debra Levin, President & CEO at The Center for Health Design.

Formed in 1993 as a team of forward thinkers with a vision for creating healthcare facilities that promote healthier environments for patients and staff, The Center has established a proven track record of creating, launching and delivering programs that provide true value to the healthcare design industry, along with the largest collection of healthcare design research, best practices, resources and tools for today’s most urgent and challenging healthcare design issues. Today, the community is made up of a global array of architects, interior designers, healthcare executives, healthcare professionals, researchers, product manufacturers, educators, and students, all committed to changing healthcare design for the better.

What is your pulse on healthcare design industry at the moment?

The industry is working hard to understand the best way to navigate through these uncharted waters and how to respond as an industry to the pandemic. A lot of financial resources have been put into fighting Covid and setting up testing and emergency response facilities. Many projects were initially put on hold, but some of those have been restarted in the last several weeks. I’m cautiously optimistic. Thankfully, the healthcare design industry is in a better condition than some others like hospitality. I foresee a reduction on business travel for a couple of years; you can choose whether to travel, but you cannot decide when you need to go to hospital. I can see a boom in the aging sector. Baby Boomers are growing older and have higher expectations than generations before them, so we have to create a wider variety of engaging environments for aging. When we started the Environments for Aging Expo + Conference, I suggested we call it “Environments for Healthy Aging”!


Can you identify any particular trend that has become increasingly important in healthcare projects due to the Covid emergency?

Not anything specific. The pandemic accelerated trends that we were already starting to see happen: from safety to infection prevention and control, and especially telemedicine.
Outside of Covid, I see much more thought and care being given to designing for mental and behavioral health as well as new models for senior living.


What are the most important characteristics of a supplier?

I can identify two levels of important characteristics. On the basic one, I would put honesty, openness and the capacity to build relationships with key stakeholders. On a further step, it’s important to have a unique product line offering in terms of producing something nobody else is offering – something that solves a problem or answers a need in the industry and then communicating that value properly. Also developing products using evidence-based design is a plus. Knowing what the research says and designing using that knowledge is important. That said, the attention to aesthetic and detail typical of “Made in Italy” is an advantage. Having a US presence can be significant because it makes conversations easier, and having successfully placed projects already on other projects helps break down barriers.



Italian Contract 4 Hospitality Design, besides coordinating the participation to Healthcare Design Expo + Conference (Cleveland, OH, October 23 to 26, 2021), creates connections between Italian companies and the professionals of healthcare design sector in the US. To read the series of IC4HD interviews, follow IC4HD interviews

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