Designing healthcare for neurodiversity, staff respite and a post covid world

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19 Apr 2021

Brenda Smith, Healthcare Practice Leader for the New York studio of Perkins&Will, and former nurse talks about the new Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, how the pandemic has impacted healthcare design and how her experience as a former nurse helped shape her career

With over 25 years of design experience, Brenda has a unique background as a former practicing nurse in radiology oncology. Later, as a full-time employee at a major pediatric healthcare system, she managed the design of a three-campus replacement hospital expansion, giving her valuable insights into what makes a successful client-designer relationship. As a result, her leadership style is rooted in big-picture thinking and meticulous detail to the patient and caregiver experience.

Brenda takes the New York studio’s interdisciplinary approach to designing healthy buildings and communities and is responsible for connecting the work of the firm’s seven research labs to the daily design and planning work of the health practice, ensuring clients have access to the most advanced strategies, insights, and tools. Before coming to New York, Smith served in a similar role in the firm’s Atlanta studio, specializing in healthcare interiors and medical education projects.

Smith’s award-winning healthcare projects, both built and unbuilt, include the CARTI Cancer Center in Little Rock, Arkansas; The Medical University of South Carolina and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion in Charleston, South Carolina; King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital (KASCH) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and Hamad Medical City Medical Education and Simulation Center in Doha, Qatar. 

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