Hospitality, Health and Design Symposium Oct. 9-11

More than 200 scholars and industry leaders are expected at the Cornell Hospitality, Health and Design Symposium, which will examine the evolving relationship among the fields of hospitality, health care, senior living and design.

conference co-chairs
Conference co-chairs are, from left, Brooke Hollis, Mardelle Shepley and Rohit Verma.

The conference, scheduled for Oct. 9-11, is sponsored by the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures (CIHF), a collaboration between the School of Hotel Administration and the College of Human Ecology. The symposium will be unlike any other in linking hospitality, health care and design, according to Rohit Verma, CIHF director and dean of external relations at the Cornell College of Business.

Verma added the conference is also unique because it will feature scholars and industry leaders presenting the latest trends in these industries. Speakers will include researchers and leaders of hospitals, health care systems, senior living facilities, design firms and hospitality companies from around the world.

“It’s very rare at a conference for both industry leaders and academics to present their ideas,” said Verma. “They will present their work and share their ideas, and in the process, create a learning community.”

Maggie Hsu, chief of staff to the CEO of and the featured speaker at the conference’s banquet dinner, will discuss the company’s commitment to health and wellness programs at its new headquarters in Las Vegas. installed furniture produced using sustainable manufacturing processes and designed for future reuse and health safety. The company’s employee restaurant uses seasonal ingredients from local and sustainable farms and from an herb garden planted on its campus.

Keynote panels will focus on four trends: the adoption of healthier offerings in hospitality firms; the incorporation of hospitality thinking in health care companies; the need for more senior living facilities; and the consideration of service and healthy living in design.

To incorporate the theme of healthy living, the two-day conference will offer yoga classes, massages and meditation sessions, said conference coordinator Valerie Kelly. In addition, Beth McKinney ’82, director of the Cornell Wellness Program, will present a class on exercise in the workplace.

Dining options will feature vegan dinner entrees and a healthy boxed lunch conference attendees can eat outside on campus.

“Many times, we have events on campus and we keep attendees inside all day and then they leave,” Verma said. “This is a way to get them outside the building to explore Cornell’s beautiful campus.”

Other keynote industry speakers at the conference will include: Andria Castellanos, COO of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center; Robert Ritz ’87, president of Mercy Medical Center; Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas; Lancy Hosey, chief sustainability officer and principal at Perkins Eastman, a planning, design and consulting firm; John Rijos ’75, operating partner at Chicago Pacific Founders, a strategic health care investment fund; and Jeff Hargett, senior corporate director at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, a hospitality consulting firm.

Visit the institute’s website to register.

Sherrie Negrea is a freelance writer.

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