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Dr. Steven Strongwater, CEO of Stony Brook University Medical Center, Congressman Tim Bishop and Barbara Finazzo
Dr. Steven Strongwater, CEO of Stony Brook University Medical Center , Congressman Tim Bishop and Barbara Finazzo, EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator
The signing today of a comprehensive green "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) between Stony Brook University Hospital and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marks a first for any hospital in the United States. The MOU document defines ways in which SBUH and the EPA will work together to mutually advance their collective goals in reducing the hospital's environmental footprint. Steven L. Strongwater, M.D., CEO, Stony Brook University Medical Center, and Barbara Finazzo, EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, signed the agreement during a ceremony in the hospital lobby.

"The MOU formalizes the hospital's continued commitment to be an environmentally conscious healthcare institution," says Dr. Strongwater. "Our relationship with the EPA is a true indication of our commitment to continually improve out programs by reducing waste, minimizing the use of hazardous materials and preventing pollution of our valuable resources. It is another step in the process toward becoming a world class healthcare institution."

"This agreement shows that a medical institution like Stony Brook University Hospital can provide world-class medical care while taking steps to protect the environment," said EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Barbara Finazzo. "This comprehensive agreement not only addresses broad issues like energy and water usage, but also those unique to the health care sector, like using environmentally-friendly medical supplies."

The SBUH/EPA agreement, which lasts five years, affirms SBUH’s commitment to its Environmental Policy Statement that declares protection of the health and well being of the SBUH community through continual improvement in the reduction, re-use and recycle programs with sustainability being the chief goal. According to the EPA, the MOU includes steps to conserve energy and water usage across SBUH, reduce waste and increase the use of environmentally-friendly products.

In order to work with the EPA to achieve "sustainable development" as a healthcare institution, SBUH has agreed to numerous commitments as stated within the MOU. Examples include: recycling paper cardboard, bottles and cans; recycling computers and electronics, including toner and inkjet cartridges; reprocess oxisensors, blades, burrs, bits, guide wires and catheters, as well as investigate additional reprocessing opportunities; and reducing or eliminating mercury and DEHP/PVC containing products.

SBUH will also adopt or enhance strategies promoted by various EPA voluntary programs, including ENERGY STAR, WasteWise, WaterSense, GreenScapes, and Recycle Mania.

In order for the EPA to determine the environmental benefits of SBUH's MOU "green" activities, the hospital is responsible for submitting a status report twice each year to the EPA (beginning six months after signing). The reports will include updates on each of the commitments and programs that are listed in the MOU agreement.

The ceremony also recognized the work of the hospital's Environmental Health and Safety Department and the efforts of the "Go Green" committee chaired by the Hospital's Associate Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Jill Kavoukian. The previous work of the Go Green committee and the Hazardous Materials and Waste subcommittee, chaired by Carol Malley, Environmental Manager, were essential for SBUH to become a more sustainable and eco-friendly facility.

Over the past three years, the SBUH Environmental Health and Safety Department has received several awards in recognition of "green" efforts. These include: H2E Making Medicine Mercury Free (2006), EPA Environmental Quality Award (2007), and Practice Greenhealth: Partner for Change Award (2008 and 2009).
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