Barbara Huelat, AAHID, FASID, EDAC

Interior Designer, Author, Speaker

Early in my career I asked – “Can our physical environment influence our health, wellbeing, creativity and innovation?” Believing it to be so, I set out to seek evidence and define these features. I found that Human-centric design became my personal philosophy.  I define “Human Centric” design as a creative approach to design problem-solving with the focus on human needs. It is the backbone of my research, writing, advocacy, leadership and design work. It’s a process that starts with people’s needs and complexities and ends with new creative solutions that solve intricate issues of the human condition.

The search has led to the understanding of the environment from the human perspective. Human-centric principles of biophilia, healthy building, human factors, experiential design can and does change human experience. The benefits reduce stress, improves health, well-being, joy, pleasure, supports innovation and provides meaning to place. I have passionately preached this mission in my research, writings, lectures, design, and leadership. Serving on the national boards of Center for Health Design, AAHID and ASID have provided platforms of human-centric design leadership. Committees with NIH, Planetree, Samueli Institute, Healthcare Advisory Boards, University Medical Centers have allowed me to research, test, prove these theories. My publication of two healthcare design books, one translated into Chinese, illustrate how these design solutions have improved outcomes for the betterment of the human conditions.

Finally, my work has allowed me to provide creative design solutions for 300+ healthcare engagements covering all types and sizes of domestic and international healthcare facilities, including signature projects with Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institutes of Japan, King Faisal Research Hospital, Saudi Arabia, George Washington Medical Faculty, The Veteran Affairs, MedStar and Sentara.

I passionately address healing environments issues with evidence that provides positive outcomes. These discoveries drive me to share my mantra! “The impact of design is real and does make a difference”.