Healthcare disparities and equity: Perspectives from CannonDesign and Moody Nolan

Jamaa Healing

Abbie Clary and Deirdre Matthews

April 25, 2024

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The long history of inequitable healthcare in our society still persists today. For those of us who design healthcare facilities, we believe it's our responsibility to create more pathways to equitable care.

CannonDesign and Moody Nolan recently co-hosted a discussion on healthcare disparities and how design can help create spaces where all people — especially Black women and others from underrepresented communities — can have successful healthcare experiences. The webinar explores the historical context of inequity and dives into strategies designers can use today to infuse diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the design process.

Watch the webinar.

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Abbie Clary

With incredible drive, Abbie approaches every project she touches as an opportunity for design to be a catalyst for change—across an organization, a community, even society as a whole. Her passion lies in helping healthcare institutions break down physical and cultural barriers to advance bold innovation and medical breakthroughs. She understands how design can positively influence her clients' business plans, operations and physical environments. She is transforming the healthcare design industry through leading by example and never settling for the conventional, resulting in teams and solutions that raise the value and perception of architectural design and experience. Some of her past and present clients include Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, University of Chicago Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering. 

Deirdre' Matthews

Deirdre' S. Matthews is a Managing Medical Equipment Planner, providing leadership to the Blue Cottage Medical Equipment Planning Team. She is a healthcare design professional with nearly three decades of experience in medical equipment planning, healthcare construction, project management and process improvement. Deirdre' specializes in managing the process of planning for complex equipment and technologies, providing oversight to an impressive array of healthcare, research, and education projects, totaling more the $90 million in capital equipment. 

Valarie Franklin Hernandez

Valarie brings over 24 years of experience with a wide variety of experience including healthcare, educational, corporate, religious, and institutional architectural design. Valarie, currently an Associate Principal at Moody Nolan, maintains a thorough knowledge of developing technologies and design concepts, has written several published articles and possesses the ability to communicate through all levels of project delivery and design. Valarie is the founding President of the local Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMAnash), she is on the AIA TN Board of Directors, is chairman of the AIA TN Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors for Nashville’s Civic Design Center. She received the AIA TN Presidential Award of Excellence in 2021 for being a leader champion furthering justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the profession and AIA Tennessee as well as her leadership of NOMAnash. Valarie has also been recognized nationally by the American Institute of Architects as a Citizen Architect.

Roderic Walton 

Roderic is a principal at Moody Nolan architects, the nations’ largest black-owned architecture firm. He practices healthcare architecture exclusively, and his approach to professional practice aligns architecture with health equity and advocacy. Roderic is also the national leader of Moody Nolan’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. Roderic has authored and contributed to a large body of written work regarding equity and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare, with specific focus on communities of color. He is a former co-chair of the AIA Chicago Healthcare Knowledge community, and a former member of the AIA Chicago Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. He is a member of the 2024 Healthcare Design Editorial Advisory Board and serves as a board member with the Academy of Architecture for Health. Roderic has twenty-seven years of industry experience.