All AIA New Jersey Members are Invited: The Architecture of Mental Health – Behavioral Health Design

November 3, 2021

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The Architecture of Mental Health – Behavioral Health Design


November 19, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM


$0.00 Member Ticket

$0.00 Non-Member Ticket






November Virtual Education Event

The Architecture of Mental Health – Behavioral Health Design

November 19, 2021 12:00-1:00 PM

Credits: 1 AIA/HSW 

An email with a weblink and call-in number will be provided before the session from (please check your spam/junk folder)

This education session will provide an overview of the history (past), current focus & challenges (present) as well as trends & vision (future) for Behavioral Health Design. Speakers Erin Sharp-Newton and Elizabeth Sullivan from NK Architects and Kimberly McMurray from BHFC Design Consultants have extensive experience in this market segment and have developed a presentation to educate participants about this relevant topic, including the COVID Pandemic and how architecture and design can respond to behavioral health needs within a community.

Learning Objectives:

  1. HISTORY – Participants will learn about the architectural history of psychiatric facilities
  2. PRESENT – Participants will gain a better understanding of present-day unique challenges in designing for mental health facilities
  3. GUIDELINES – Participants will become familiar with patient safety, anti-ligature, and self-harm prevention methods with an overview of guidelines and best practices.
  4. PRINCIPLES – Participants will gain insight into the principles of biophilia, circadian lighting, and nature and how they can support a therapeutic environment.
  5. VISION – Participants will be shown ways to design healing environments while maintaining FGI requirements.
  6. TRENDS – Participants will learn about upcoming trends in this area of design.

Forum Objectives:
1. Increase awareness
2. Reduce stigma
3. Create paths to improvement
4. Advocate positive change

Registration opens on Monday, November 1 and closes on Wednesday, November 17.


About our Presenters:

With over two decades of experience, Donna has had various roles in different project
types and complexities. Her career has focused on healthcare since 2008 through the
planning, design, coordination, and construction of new hospitals, expansions, and

Fostering a collaborative team and having strong professional relationships are very
important to her. She earns the trust of her colleagues through her management
approach and ability to multi-task while remaining highly organized with attention to
detail. Donna is a hands-on Project Manager with RWJBarnabas Health focused
on developing solutions that achieve project goals in an efficient manner as well as
remaining thoughtful of budget, schedule, and design.
Throughout her career, she has been active in the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Central New Jersey, the Healthcare Facilities Management Society of NJ (HFMSNJ),
and has dedicated personal time to mentoring emerging professionals.  This includes
being a Team Leader for the nationally recognized ACE Mentor Program, speaking at
career days, and coordinating various Professional Development Programs. 


Principal | Behavioral Health Facility Consulting, LLC
Kimberly, Principal of Behavioral Health Facility Consulting, LLC a 100% Woman
Owned Enterprise is an expert in behavioral health design, is a practicing healthcare
planner and architect with over 35 years of leadership experience in healthcare on
academic, non-profit, and private medical campus architecture.
McMurray has a decade of experience from the owner’s perspective and collaborating
with multidisciplinary user groups, thereby embracing a unique perspective and
response to client needs; applying her knowledge of clinical operations, evidence-based
design, lean operational planning; to lead projects from programming, concept
development through design.
Kimberly is a Registered Architect, National Council Architectural Registration Boards,
has her Evidence Based Design Certification from the Center for Health Design. She
holds a Bachelor of Architecture, from Arizona State University, and a Master of
Business Administration, University of Alabama at Birmingham.


SPEAKER: Erin Sharp-Newton, M. Arch,
NK Architects Associate, Senior Behavioral Health Designer
Erin is a Senior Behavioral Health Designer at NK Architects, and a Fellow at the Centre
of Urban Design and Mental Health. As part of NK’s Healthcare group, she has been
vital in developing the focus of Behavioral Healthcare Design and for encouraging this
important area of work.
Supporting grass roots to global solutions through design, Erin also serves the
Department of Health & Human Services as Chair for the Local Advisory Committee on
Drugs & Alcohol, served as Vice-President of the Executive Board of the Hunterdon
Drug Awareness Program, on the Morristown Mayor's Wellness Committee, is the CNJ
liaison for AIA NJ WIA Women in Architecture, on the AIA NJ Equity In Architecture
Committee and has received acknowledgments throughout her career such as the NJ

Biz "50 Best Women in Business" Award and recognition by the Charter High School of
Architecture and Design.
Erin holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from UCLA and a Master’s in Design from
Domus Academy in Milan, Italy. She was a Creative Director with Cibic Workshop in
Milan, has been active with major architecture/design schools such as the Domus
Academy, Milan Polytecnico, and Venice Polytecnico, Sci-Arc, UCLA, Woodbury, the
Art Institute, Drexel, Moore College of Art, Cornell University, and others. She is a
regular contributor to


SPEAKER: Elizabeth Sullivan, Associate AIA, LEED GA, EDAC
NK Architects, Healthcare Practice Leader
Elizabeth is a Healthcare Practice Leader at NK Architects in NYC, with headquarters in
Morristown NJ. 
Elizabeth has extensive management and medical planning experience. As a
healthcare planner, she specializes in medical master planning, small-and large-scale
facilities, and complex multi-phased projects. She manages and coordinates with
leadership, reconciling key stakeholder and user requirements with applicable codes
and guidelines to achieve design solutions that meet programmatic needs and translate
into cohesive planning concepts.
Additionally, Elizabeth worked as both a Project Manager and later as a Director of
Facilities and Real Estate Planning for Montefiore Health System in New York. She has
unique inside experience working as the client and understands the entire project
process from the owner’s perspective.
Elizabeth is the AIA Co-Chair for the Design for Health Committee at the Center for
Architecture in New York, was an Associate Principal at Perkins Eastman. Elizabeth
holds both her Masters and Bachelors degrees in Architecture from Tulane University.
She is Evidence-Based Design Accreditation Certification (EDAC) from the Center for
Health Design.

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