Hospital heroes of both health & equity.

Photo credit: UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center; as part of their Health Care Heroes Week in May 2020 — to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of their health care providers in the eye of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center has long made nature central to their efforts to help physicians, employees, patients and families heal, process and cope. For example, a lush Healing Garden was created adjacent to the Tate Cancer Center — a tranquil green space, intentionally designed to bring comfort and solace with a calming winding stream, reflecting pool and a Sacred Place. A bay of windows allows patients receiving chemotherapy treatment to view the garden and find solace and healing.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital has turned to the garden for strength and renewal — to help physicians, nurses and staff combat unimaginable levels of stress and fatigue. Susan Iaquinta, Firesoul of the Sacred Place at UM BWMC, recently shared that “…spending time in nature is critical care point for our staff during this crisis — essential to restoring our frontline workers’ mental health — offering vitally-needed rejuvenation and respite.”

Through nature, BWMC has not only been able to offer a source for healing for its community, but to lend a means to safely come together and collectively transcend the crises.

During the fall months, the hospital creatively engineered small events and gatherings intended to uplift and strengthen their community. Health Care Heroes Week Celebration; awards and scholarship events; intimate, productive fundraising events and an installation of holiday lights in the garden — are among a few examples. 

Working to support the larger community, beyond the center, BWMC rose to the challenge of providing care for those who need it. By working outside, the center was able to partner with a local produce partner to provide free produce boxes; distribute thousands of hygiene kits to the County Department of Social Services for their homeless outreach team; offer virtual yoga for chronic pain; and to deliver virtual self-care workshops to celebrate #CancerSurvivorsWeek, including qi gong, guided relaxation, mind/body wellness, and a meditation focusing on scent and color – including a video with a meditative walk through their Sacred Place. More here. 

Moreover, in June, members of their emergency department also came together to pause, reflect and show support in the fight against racism and injustice in this country. While concurrently working on the frontlines battling COVID-19, they made it a priorty to come together to express their feelings on this important issue. 

“As a health care institution that values respect, compassion and humanity, we stand in solidarity with the community in the fight for racial equality and social justice.” — UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center

To learn more about the BWMC frontline heroes and a peek inside the center, view this short video