All University of California academic health centers receive environmental sustainability awards

The University of California’s health systems received a total of 13 environmental sustainability awards in Practice Greenhealth’s 2020 Environmental Excellence Award competition. Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. 

  • UCLA Health – Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center earned Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor - the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award - as well as the Greening the Operating Room Recognition Award and a Circle of Excellence Award for green building practices. UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, was recognized with the Greenhealth Emerald Award for accomplishments across a range of categories and with the Greening the Operating Room Recognition Award.
  • UC Davis Health received the Greenhealth Emerald Award for overall advanced sustainability programs, as well as the Greening the Operating Room Recognition Award and Circle of Excellence awards for sustainable food service and green building achievements.
  • UCSF Health was a Greenhealth Emerald Award winner for its outstanding accomplishments across areas of sustainability and received the Greening the Operating Room Recognition Award.
  • UC San Diego Health earned the Partner for Change Award which highlights superior performance in environmental sustainability and demonstrating continuous improvement.
  • UCI Health was recognized with a Partner Recognition Award for its commitment to environmental improvements and progress across multiple areas.

These initiatives are part of UC’s overall sustainability program and policy

“Health care represents 18 percent of the nation’s economy and has a significant impact on our environment. Being a leader in health care means going beyond clinical excellence to also consider our impact on the environment,” says Carrie L. Byington, MD, executive vice president of University of California Health. “We made a commitment across all of our health centers to address some of the sector’s most problematic areas - energy use, waste management, water use, food service and our carbon footprint.”

To be transparent and accountable, the University publishes the UC Annual Report on Sustainable Practices, with detailed metrics.

“In a shifting health care landscape, a focus on sustainability can help build resilience while better protecting the health of patients and the community,” said Gary Cohen, Practice Greenhealth founder. 

About the Awards
These awards are part of Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Excellence Awards given annually to honor health care’s achievements in sustainability.

  • The Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award is Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor for hospitals. These hospitals are leading the industry with innovation in sustainability, demonstrating superior programs, and illustrating how sustainability is a core part of their culture.
  • The Circle of Excellence Awards celebrate hospitals that have not only earned an award for all around sustainability achievement, but that have also been identified as the top scoring programs for each category of sustainability.
    • The Food Circle highlights leaders in sustainable food services, capturing leadership in meat reduction, procurement of better meat, local and sustainable sourcing, improving access to tap water and healthy beverages, supporting healthy food access, and preventing food waste. 
    • ­The Green Building Circle is presented to hospitals that have demonstrated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and other innovative green building achievements over the past five years. These hospitals emphasize policies that show a commitment to the requirement of LEED construction standards for all major new builds or renovations. 
  • The Greenhealth Emerald Award recognizes outstanding hospitals from within the Partner for Change applicants. This competitive award recognizes the top 20 percent of applicants and is focused on advanced sustainability programs and exemplary scores in a range of categories.
  • The Greening the Operating Room Recognition Award honors facilities that have made substantial progress in reducing the impact of the surgical operating room environment.
  • The Greenhealth Partner for Change Award recognizes superior performance in environmental sustainability, covering a range of different sustainability programs and activities. Winners have also made substantive progress on mercury elimination.
  • The Partner Recognition Award recognizes facilities that have a commitment to environmental improvements and have achieved progress in several areas of the organization.

About Practice Greenhealth
Practice Greenhealth is the leading membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, delivering environmental solutions to more than 1,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems. Learn more at

About University of California Health
University of California Health comprises five academic health centers, a community-based health system in Riverside and 19 health professional schools. All of UC’s hospitals are ranked among the top ten in California and its medical schools and health professional schools are also ranked among the best in their respective areas. More information and news from University of California Health is available here.