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Center for Sustainable Healthcare targets a greener YNHHS

The recently launched Center for Sustainable Healthcare (C4SH) is working across Yale New Haven Health System to determine how the organization is impacting climate change and what we can do reduce our carbon footprint.

“I joined the health system just over three years ago with the hope that we could build a program with Yale University that could really change the way we do things,” said Dean Caruso, vice president, Support Services and Sustainability, Yale New Haven Hospital. “We are now moving forward with a standardized, system-wide approach to reducing our carbon footprint.” 

C4SH has Green Teams at Bridgeport, Greenwich, Lawrence + Memorial, Westerly and Yale New Haven hospitals and Northeast Medical Group. These teams report to the Sustainability Executive Council, but C4SH is not a top-down initiative, said Jodi Sherman, MD, Anesthesiology, C4SH medical director and co-lead with Caruso.  

“This is built in a way that promotes the flow of ideas in both directions,” she said. “C4SH is the convening body for all this work. We work with the Sustainability Executive Council, which is made up of executive leaders across the system, to provide strategic direction and weave sustainability culture into operations at all our delivery networks. How that work is implemented and what initiatives should be targeted also come from the Green Teams. Everyone has responsibilities, but it is a truly collaborative structure.”

C4SH’s primary goal is to achieve net zero carbon emissions across YNHHS. The group’s work relies not only on tangible actions such as recycling and turning off lights in empty rooms; it encourages people to consider the environmental impact of all decisions.

“We’re trying to embed this change into the fabric of Yale New Haven Health,” Caruso said. “One of our goals is to have sustainability in the back of people’s minds as they go about their days. If you’re hiring a vendor, are you considering the environmental impact of the work they’re doing for us? Right now, that’s not top of mind for a lot of people, and we’re working to change that.”

To learn more, get involved or share ideas with your local Green Team, visit Sustainability on the intranet (in network only) or email [email protected]