In Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, Dr. Esther Sternberg brought neuroscience, immunology, and architecture together to look closely at how one’s immediate physical surroundings can affect mood, the immune system, neural functioning, and general health. Drawing equally on the history of medicine and on emerging knowledge, Sternberg sought to demonstrate the complex relationships between health and environment. The findings presented in the book have broad application, but the central concern for healing made hospitals and other healthcare institutions the main focus of the book’s prescriptions.
And now comes word that the hospitals of Vermont have taken a step towards filling them. Inspired by Healing Spaces, the Susan Sebastian Foundation has completed the multi-year project of installing original works of art in each of the state’s roughly 400 inpatient hospital rooms. Sternberg, who didn’t learn of the project until it was near completion, confessed feeling deeply moved by the story. “When you write a book,” she said, “you never know the impact it will have, and to see my words made into reality on this scale is tremendously fulfilling.”
Tremendously fulfilling, indeed.