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Sustainable Healthcare - Our Pressing Future


Highlights Cassandra Thiel made strides in her research related to sustainable healthcare. Cassandra helped write a successful grant application for seed funding for a sustainable healthcare LCA project, and the project team received a $25,000 award through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This team is a unique collaboration between sustainable engineers and physicians. In addition to presenting research at conferences and writing conference proceedings, Cassandra published her first journal article. Cassandra planned her remaining path towards her PhD, choosing committee members, creating a research timeline, and passing her proposal in December. In addition to article and proposal writing, In fulfillment of the University of Pittsburgh IGERT Fellowship requirements, Cassandra moved to Brazil in January and has been learning about the Brazilian healthcare system, establishing connections for future research, and will be teaching a course at the Federal University of Espirito Santo (UFES).

In addition to her successful research year, Cassandra Thiel helped advance STEM and women issues as she was she co-coordination of StartSmart Salary Negotiation Workshop. On Sunday, December 4, 2011 University of Pittsburgh welcomed WAGE Project Director, Annie Houle, to campus to help Pitt students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learn about salary negotiating. The Women Are Getting Even (or WAGE) Project is a charitable organization that was established to eliminate the gender wage gap in America. On average, women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns- this gap leaves women earning $1 to $2 million less than their male counterparts. In an effort to educate women and men on the gender wage gap and salary negotiation, WAGE teamed up with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to conduct the Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop at colleges and universities across the nation. Start Smart is an interactive workshop which is geared toward a specific job, designated by the hosting institution. The workshop was held in the morning and afternoon and attendees from both sessions were invited to a luncheon in which Frances Taggert, Senior Human Resource Generalist for United States Steel Corporation.

Address Goals

Primary In terms of sustainable healthcare, we believe a new community is emerging that ties human health outcomes and environmental consequences – sustainable healthcare. Our long-term vision is to better understand and improve healthcare from a sustainability perspective using the quantitative approach of environmental life cycle assessment (LCA). We hypothesize that short-term decision-making in health care results in both long-term environmental and human health impacts. Cassandra’s research is critical to forming this community.

Secondary In addition to the research community in the US, Cassandra Thiel’s research is also expanded to understand conditions in the international sphere. During her international research rotation, Cassandra is forging key alliances with Brazilian Hospitals and collecting information related to differences in sustainable healthcare.