Researcher Kara Freihoefer wins George Pressler Under 40 Award

HGA Senior Researcher Kara Freihoefer, PhD, CID, EDAC, LEED ID+C, has won the prestigious George Pressler Under 40 Award. The award recognizes young professionals who have “demonstrated leadership and vision within the fields of healthcare planning, design, construction, and operations.”

Freihoefer was acknowledged for her practice-based research accomplishments, in which she has developed a mixed-method toolkit to study caregiver workflows in pre- and post-occupancy to support the healthcare facility planning process. Her data-rich, evidence-based design research has enabled design teams and healthcare organizations to identify spatial concepts that improve operational efficiencies.

Throughout her career, Freihoefer has conducted collaborative research studies with such leading clients as HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minnesota; St. Elizabeth Hospital for Affinity Health System in Appleton, Wisconsin; and Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, among others.

“During a recent inpatient unit design project, Kara highlighted our opportunities for improvement with the historic unit design through research, data collection, and process improvement methods,” said Sarah Cypher, MSN, RN, CMSRN, Director of Nursing at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin. “She truly put our bedside caregivers’ voice to paper and highlighted how we could transform the way we provide care for improved outcomes.”

Freihoefer has presented her research findings at national conferences, including Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo and Healthcare Design Expo + Conference, and has published her work in leading journals, including Healthcare Design and the peer-review Health Environments Research & Design (HERD).

She previously won the 2017 Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Certificate of Research Excellence (CORE) for her study with HealthEast, “On-Stage/Off-Stage Clinic Design: Implications for Operational Efficiencies, Staff Collaboration and Privacy.”

The George Pressler Under 40 Award is part of the Symposium Distinction Awards program, sponsored by Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo.