University of Washington's Gould Hall, the main building of the architecture department
Flickr user Christopher Muhs University of Washington's Gould Hall, the main building of the architecture department

Today, the Architects Foundation, the AIA's philanthropic arm, issued an evaluation of the first year of its Design and Health Research Consortium. Launched last December, the consortium is a joint program by the Architects Foundation, the AIA, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Its goal is to leverage a multi-disciplinary network of universities that research the relationship between the built environment and health for designers, health professionals, policymakers, and the public. This year, the program's 11 charter members raised $12 million for research and offered more than 90 university courses on design and health.

The report outlines the work that each of the university teams has been doing to advance research on a range of topics including the effects of indoor temperatures on sleep deprivation and depression (University of Florida), as well as the ways in which urban design can promote access to healthy food and healthcare for under-served and vulnerable populations (University of Kansas).

The report coincides with the foundation's announcement that it will add six new members: Morgan State University in Baltimore; the University of Memphis School of Public Health in Memphis, Tenn.; the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture in Minneapolis; the University of Virginia's School of Architecture in Charlottesville, Va.; the University of Washington's Department of Architecture in Seattle; and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

These schools were selected because their current research has "the best potential for affecting policy across a wide swath of issues at the intersection of the built environment and public health," Architects Foundation executive director Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop said in a press release