Greetings and Christmas letters
Christmas message and reflections from IFHE President Steve Rees and IFHE General Secretary Gunnar Baekken.
A Christmas Message from IFHE President,
Steve Rees
Christmas, holiday season and New Years is a time for reflection, and as I look back on 2023, I feel very fortunate to be a member of IFHE and proud of what the global healthcare engineering community has accomplished during such challenging times.
You have continued to demonstrate the resiliency that has been required due to vast weather-related events and other global emergencies. There has been a continued focus on climate change and reducing the healthcare carbon footprint. Sustainability project work globally is truly inspiring, but we must share our learnings with each other and keep the good work progressing. All people within the healthcare engineering community, whether associated with facility operations, design, construction, bio-medical, planning, or maintenance have met the challenges with great determination, innovation, and dedication. You should be very proud of your accomplishments.

It was great to get together in Mexico City in November at the International Congress, Hospital of the Future, Transversality of Health Infrastructure for our Executive Committee (ExCo) and Council Meetings. It was very gratifying to hear Michele Di Marco, Techne Coordinator at the World Health Organization (WHO) speak about the important alliance between IFHE and the WHO at both meetings. Many thanks to those professionals that have volunteered their valuable time to help others around the world. 

Looking into 2024, I see the need to continue the focus on Climate Change in both decarbonization of our facilities and building resiliency to extreme weather conditions.  I look forward to work with the other members of the Executive Committee (ExCo) to continue to improve communication with our members, and to fulfill our mandate to encourage and facilitate exchange of information and experience in healthcare facility design, construction, engineering, operation, commissioning, maintenance, and estate management.
There has never been a time more important than now to share our learnings and experience. I am very excited about our next Congress, October 15th-17th, 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. It will be important for us to continue work on our strategic action plan there.

On behalf of your IFHE Executive Committee, I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and if you do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you Happy Holidays and Best of the Season!

As the New Year approaches, I hope the best for you in 2024!
Steve Rees
President, IFHE
Reflections from IFHE General Secretary,
Gunnar Baekken
As the holiday season approaches, I reflect on our global connections and shared commitment to health. This year, our collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) has been truly impactful. Together, we’ve explored innovative Healthcare Technology and Architecture, contributing to advancements in global health. 
International cooperation in healthcare engineering is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, health challenges often transcend borders, requiring a collaborative approach to address global health issues effectively. Sharing knowledge, expertise, and resources internationally allows for a more comprehensive understanding of diverse healthcare needs and solutions.

Additionally, pooling together talents and perspectives from different countries fosters innovation in healthcare engineering. Collaborative efforts can lead to the development of advanced technologies, improved healthcare infrastructure, and more efficient systems, benefiting populations worldwide.

Furthermore, international cooperation promotes the exchange of best practices and lessons learned. By learning from each other’s successes and challenges, countries can optimize their healthcare engineering strategies and enhance the overall quality of healthcare services.

In essence, global collaboration in healthcare engineering is essential for creating sustainable and resilient healthcare systems that can adapt to evolving challenges on a worldwide scale.

Meeting in person, as opposed to relying solely on technology, offers several advantages. Firstly, face-to-face interactions provide a richer communication experience. Non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions play a significant role in understanding context, emotions, and intent, which can be lost in purely digital interactions.

In-person meetings foster a deeper connection and build trust more effectively. Human relationships often thrive on personal connections, and meeting in person allows for a more authentic and genuine exchange of ideas.

Moreover, face-to-face meetings can enhance collaboration and teamwork. The spontaneity of in-person discussions can lead to creative problem-solving and quicker decision-making. It’s often easier to build consensus and resolve conflicts when people are physically present and can engage in real-time dialogue.

While technology enables efficient communication over distances, in-person meetings contribute to a more holistic and well-rounded communication experience. Balancing both technological tools and personal interactions can optimize the benefits of communication in various contexts.

Our partnership with the International Federation of Healthcare Engineering (IFHE) has further strengthened our resolve to create resilient healthcare systems worldwide. As we celebrate this festive season, let’s also celebrate the strides we’ve made in promoting a healthier and more connected world.

Wishing you joy and good health,

Gunnar Baekken
IFHE General Secretary