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Dominican Hospital Receives Three National Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Sustainability

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Annual awards program honors hospitals driving the health care sector toward a greener, healthier future

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (April 18, 2017) - Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has received three awards from Practice Greenhealth - the Circle of Excellence Award, the Greenhealth Emerald Award, and the Greening the OR Award - in recognition of its work to lead the health care industry in sustainability and environmental stewardship. Practice Greenhealth is the nation's leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. This year marks the eleventh time Practice Greenhealth has recognized Dominican's environmental excellence with an award.

"Sustainability is at the core of our healing mission and central to protecting the health of our patients, staff, and community," said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. "This award acknowledges the dedication of our employees and physicians, who are willing to go that extra mile every day in order to meet our high expectations for sustainability."

These three distinctions are part of the Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor environmental achievements in the health care sector.

The Circle of Excellence Award honors up to 10 hospitals for outstanding performance in one specific area. Dominican was recognized in the Chemicals category, which honors hospitals with sound chemical reduction policies and practices. Winners address toxicity through greener cleaning programs, reduction of mercury, and avoidance of chemicals of concern in purchasing products, services, and equipment.

Dominican received the Greenhealth Emerald Award for the second consecutive time, which recognizes health care facilities that are setting the standard in eliminating mercury, reducing and recycling waste, implementing sustainable sourcing, and other areas. Winning hospitals have demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability and shown leadership in the local community and in the larger health care sector.

The Greening the OR Award recognizes Dominican for demonstrating success in reducing the environmental impact of its surgical suites.

"These awards highlight Dominican Hospital's efforts to push the envelope and drive innovation in sustainability practices for the good of our patients, our community, and our planet," said Sister Ellen Leciejewski, Director of Ecology for Dignity Health. "We are proud to again be recognized for our work and will continue to identify opportunities to reduce our footprint on the environment."

Dominican Hospital has attained several sustainability successes, including:

  • Achieved a recycling rate of 58 percent, more than double the average recycling rate of other sustainability award-winning hospitals.
  • Managed harmful chemicals by eliminating mercury-based thermometers, switching to nontoxic cleaning products, and responsibly disposing of pharmaceutical waste.
  • Installed drought-resistant landscaping, which has reduced water needs by more than 50 percent.
  • Deployed water-saving sterilization equipment, which saves 440 gallons of water per day.
  • Created a 9,000 square foot certified-organic garden which yields 2,500 pounds of produce yearly.
  • Installed a 5,000 gallon water catchment tank, which supplies the organic garden.
  • Reduced energy usage through the installation of LED lighting throughout parking lots and purchase of high efficiency motors.

Dominican Hospital's ecology program began in 1996, and has received many awards and recognitions, including the Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) award from the California Integrated Waste Management Board each year it has been offered since 1997.

Dignity Health has pledged to increase its use of renewable energy to 35 percent and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 - a goal that the organization is already on track to surpass.

About Dominican Hospital

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has been caring for the Santa Cruz County community for 75 years. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center. Dominican's services include the only comprehensive Cancer Center in Santa Cruz County, a Total Joint Replacement program, advanced neurological and endoscopic services, and an expert heart and vascular team treating some of the most complex cardiac cases in the Monterey Bay area. Dominican has received national recognition for superior patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke treatment from Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Dominican also has received several awards for environmental excellence. To learn more, please visit our website:

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Publish date: 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Media Contact

Christine McMurry, Director of External Communications

p: (415) 250-4440

[email protected]