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PhD Candidate Faria T. Islam receives Academy of Architecture for Health Fellowship

Monday, August 25, 2014

The American Institute of Architects’ Academy of Architecture for Healthcare has awarded PhD Candidate Faria T. Islam its Arthur N. Tuttle Jr. Graduate Fellowship in Health Facility Planning and Design. She is studying healthcare architecture in the Department of Architecture’ Health and Wellness Program, and minoring in statistics.

She will use the fellowship to examine factors in the design of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) such as ease of physical and visual access, room configuration, and number of patient rooms in and ICU, and the special needs of families. External factors will also be considered, including the care model, hospital type, and how characteristics of the nursing staff like age, position in the unit, and work hours can influence an ICU’s physical environment.

Empirical studies have shown that poor design of health care workplaces can negatively affect staff, may reduce functional efficiency, and lead to medical errors and waste. 

“This research will provide an improved understanding of how ICU design affects staff perception as the units vary in layout, specialty, and organizational context,” she said. “It will open dialogue between clinical and design professionals leading to better ICU design in the future.”

The study will use a self-report instrument with several multiple item scales developed by KU professor of architecture Mahbub Rashid. The instrument evaluates physical environment of ICUs from staff’s perspective.

Previously the instrument was administered on seven best-practice ICUs. The sample for Islam’s research will further validate it, and include one hundred and seventy nurses working in adult ICUs from community and teaching hospitals.

Islam was the recipient of a Summer Research Fellowship 2014 from the KU Office of Graduate Studies. She holds the Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) from the Center for Health Design.

She earned her master’s degree in Architecture and Health Design at University of Illinois at Chicago. While studying there she received the Jogindar Paul Mahajan Scholarship. She earned her bachelor in architecture degree from BRAC University in Bangladesh and was on the Dean’s and Vice Chancellor’s list while there. 



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