Butterfield is a nationally recognized environmental and public health advocate and leader. Her research focuses on household environmental health risks. During her time as the dean of the College of Nursing, Butterfield instilled a culture of sustainability in all aspects of the college – programs, teaching and daily business operations.
Butterfield was at this year’s Earth Day celebration on campus, which featured exhibits from Two Wheel Transit, Spokane Transit and Roast House Coffee, as well as exhibits from resources on our campus, like our Commute Trip Reduction program. The celebration was organized by WSU Spokane’s Sustainability Committee.
Brandie Tilch-Bryant, currently working toward her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree, was also on hand. Tilch-Bryant currently works at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane in waste reduction. She helps support a pilot program to reduce waste in Holy Family’s emergency room. Tilch-Bryant is on track to graduate in 2017.
Meghan Keller joined the Earth Day celebration to educate attendees as well. Keller runs the environmental compliance office at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane. In that role, Keller looks into reducing hazardous waste streams and explores new technology the hospital could use to be more environmentally friendly.
The work of Tilch-Bryant and Keller lines up with what the College of Nursing has been focused on. Butterfield said hospitals accumulate 33 pounds of waste per patient on average. That waste can be anything from empty chemotherapy bags to hazardous waste to unused anitibiotics to electronic equipment.
In 2010, Butterfield hired an employee to assess the college’s sustainability practices, which included water usage, energy usage, recycling practices and a lot more.
Practicing sustainability in health care keeps us all healthy. Butterfield has been a leader in that area and has had a big impact on WSU Spokane’s sustainability practices.