National Leader in Green Health Care

The University of Vermont Medical Center is striving to be the greenest health care organization in the country by continually looking for new ways to build on our long tradition of environmental responsibility. Our sustained efforts to reduce energy consumption, waste stream and carbon footprint, and to increase the use of healthy, locally produced foods have been acknowledged with awards from leading national organizations.

Employees have embraced this mission and have created a "Green Team" and management-level Sustainability Council to gather ideas, create action plans and raise awareness throughout the organization. The UVM Medical Center participates in dozens of environmental initiatives — from seeking out environmentally friendly products for maintaining and cleaning our facilities to serving sustainable foods and composting.

Simply put, we believe practicing green health care is the right thing to do for our patients, the environment and the communities we serve.

Our Green Initiatives

The UVM Medical Center has a reputation as a leader in green initiatives, we:

  • Launched the first Healthy Food in Health Care Roundtable, which has evolved into a leadership team with other hospital leaders in the region who want to serve sustainable foods.
  • Participate in the Vermont Fresh Network annual forum.
  • Received a $143,000 federal grant, thanks to U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy and U.S. Congressman Peter Welch, to develop the Center for Nutrition and Healthy Food Systems at The UVM Medical Center - to educate other health care institutions in Vermont about building a sustainable food system.
  • Received the Leadership Circle Award from Practice Greenhealth, a national association focused on improving environmental practices in health care. We were one of two out of over 800 health care organizations.
  • Received the Partner in Leadership Award from the Health care Food Service Management Association.

History of our Green Health Care Program

The modern history of The UVM Medical Center's green health care program starts in 1989 when Hollie Shaner-McRae, a nurse on the overnight shift, began a small project to implement recycling on her unit. (Read a profile of Hollie Shaner-McRae.) Participation by colleagues and the housekeeping staff grew, with support from leadership soon to follow. As the recycling program expanded and other green practices were adopted, The UVM Medical Center found itself at the forefront of environmentally-friendly health care organizations.

A prestigious Environmental Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, media coverage and other recognition encouraged employees and leaders to examine all aspects of our clinical practices and other operations with environmental stewardship in mind.

Today, leaders from our operations, nutrition and facilities departments regularly speak at national conferences to share our experiences and provide guidance on concrete steps every health care organization can take to practice greener health care. In 2008, The UVM Medical Center issued a mission statement to detail its environmental goals and promises. 

Employee Leadership

One key to our ongoing success is the active participation of hundreds of employees from across the organization who have embraced our green mission. These include:

  • An employee-driven Green Team meets regularly to gather ideas and set goals, and then works with all departments to achieve them.
  • A higher-level Sustainability Council works in conjunction with the Green Team and ultimately sets organizational priorities and funds projects accordingly.

Environmental Leadership Awards

Practice Greenhealth logo 

Practice Greenhealth "Leadership Circle Award"

For several years, the UVM Medical Center has been recognized as a leader in green health care by Practice Greenhealth, the leading national association focused on improving environmental practices in health care. We're proud to be included in a very select group among 800 hospitals who are considered role models in this area.

Health Care Food Service Management "Partner in Leadership Award"

We have also received the Partner in Leadership Award from the Health Care Food Service Management Association for the collaboration we've helped build between food service operators and administrators to establish standards of excellence.

View a full list of UVM Medical Center Awards and Accolades.