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Planning, Philanthropy and Passion

December 28, 2020
The supremely confident and enthusiastic Director of the Hospitalist group at GBMC is the perfect advocate for GBMC’s newest campaign. When Dr. Chris Greenawalt heard about The Promise Project, he knew he wanted to be involved. And when the decision was made that floors four and five would be designated for general internal medicine, he was all-in.

J. Christopher Greenawalt, MD
J. Christopher Greenawalt, MD
“As the Director of the GBMC Hospitalist Group, I am proud to have my team attending on the units in the new space,” Dr. Greenawalt said. “The new building offers state of the art design and technology that will allow us to deliver exceptional care to our patients and their families, every time.”

In addition to serving as Director of Hospitalists and Vice Chief of Staff and practicing medicine with his own patients, Dr. Greenawalt has also taken on additional volunteer leadership roles within the campaign on both the philanthropic and planning sides. As co-chair of the Physician and Nurse Division of the campaign alongside JoAnn Ioannou, Executive Vice President of Hospital Operations and Chief Nursing Officer, and John Kuchar, MD, Chair of Anesthesiology, Dr. Greenawalt looks to engage GBMC’s medical leaders to support the project. He started with his own investment.

“I always try and give back to organizations that I believe in and am a part of,” Dr. Greenawalt said. “Everything we’re putting into this building is exactly what I try to do every day at GBMC. The gift just further adds to my commitment, which adds to my tremendous excitement around the project. I just feel so happy that I’m able to do this. It’s really something I believe in in my heart.”

Dr. Greenawalt has put both his heart and his mind into the project, participating in planning committees to evaluate and finalize the design and functionality of the space.

“The 1965 building was lovely when it was new, but it’s now woefully inadequate for today’s modern medical care. Most departments have gotten some kind of upgrade, but the medical patients, which is what I do, really haven’t,” Dr. Greenawalt said. “We believe we have designed the best facility, the best layout that is possible for all of the things we have to incorporate and that’s another wonderful accomplishment.”

The space impacts all areas of patient care. On paper, it increases the square footage of the hospital, but it is what physicians and nurses are able to do with that space that will create positive change for patients and caregivers. According to Dr. Greenawalt, it will allow for appropriate physical and occupational therapy to be conducted in the room and reduce fall risks by giving patients and medical staff enough space to safely maneuver.

COVID-19 also encouraged the design team to think strategically about contact isolation situations, which are incredibly lonely, isolating and even tragic at end-of-life. This new space allows for safe visitation. From a medical staff perspective, pass-throughs into the room from the general medical floor will allow nurses to see patients more readily and allow them to physically pass items into the room. Even the building itself could be divided into sections, to quarantine if necessary.

But perhaps the most meaningful improvement to patient care is the ability to work as part of a care team. The new space will have workstations and conference rooms for physicians, nurses, case workers, therapists, pharmacists, and more to congregate and discuss patient cases individually, greatly enhancing the teamwork and care provided.

Dr. Greenawalt is no stranger to understanding how impactful space and place can be to an overall experience. Growing up on a beautiful, sprawling property in Baltimore County to attending school on the picturesque campuses of McDonogh School and Wake Forest University, it is no surprise the only place he applied to after his residency at University of Maryland School of Medicine was GBMC. There was no back-up, no alternative in his mind for what came next, and he has the same feeling with The Promise Project.

“There is no other alternative,” Dr. Greenawalt said. “I believe The Promise Project is 100% essential for us to be able to continue to care for patients the way we want to. The status quo just isn’t going to work anymore. This is the quintessential next step for this organization and I passionately believe that.”
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