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Dominican Hospital Receives Practice Greenhealth Emerald Award


Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has received the “Greenhealth Emerald” Award from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading health care membership community dedicated to reducing the environmental footprint of  health care organizations worldwide. This year marks the tenth time Practice Greenhealth has recognized Dominican’s environmental excellence with an award.

“Individual health is profoundly connected to the overall health of our environment – in essence, what is good for the planet, is good for the patient,” said Sister Mary Ellen Leciejewski, Director of Ecology for Dignity Health. “Dominican, and all Dignity Health hospitals, will continue to prioritize our sustainability programs to decrease waste, conserve water, reduce our chemical footprint, increase energy efficiency, and promote recycling for the good of our patients and our community.”

The distinction is one of the Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor environmental achievements in the health care sector. The awards were presented May 19 in Dallas, Texas at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.

The Greenhealth Emerald Award is a very competitive award recognizing health care facilities that have achieved improvements in their mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling, and source reduction programs – above and beyond the Partner for Change Award criteria. Winning hospitals are selected using Practice Greenhealth’s improved scoring and evaluation system, and are further along the path to sustainability and show leadership in the local community and in the health care sector.

Dominican Hospital has attained several sustainability successes, including:

  • Achieved a recycling rate of 54 percent, more than double the average recycling rate of other sustainability award-winning hospitals from 2010-2014.
  • 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.
  • Installed a 5,000 gallon water catchment tank, which supplies the organic garden.

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 more than 70 years. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center and Chest Pain 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 regularly receives ‘A’ grades for hospital safety from Leapfrog Group, and 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.