The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) announced today that it is standing up a Task Force on reducing the enormous health burden from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, its goal is to define the critical role buildings, organizations and communities play in prevention and preparedness, resilience and recovery. 

The Task Force’s work will take a broad approach, considering both new and recurring infectious agents that can affect large populations.

“IWBI’s work centres on providing evidence-backed solutions that advance better health and well-being in the places and spaces where we spend our lives,” says IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. 

“The creation of this Task Force provides a mechanism to focus on this immediate challenge and collect and apply the expertise and insight of our global community, which includes practicing physicians, environmental and behavioral scientists, leading design practitioners and innovation leaders from global corporations.”

“This task force can help us focus quickly on actionable measures we can take to more fully deliver resources needed to advance a global culture of health that includes everyone,” says Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey.

“This timely effort will mine the scientific literature to identify enhanced opportunities for the built environment to improve population health,” says Dr. Fielding.

Surgeon General Carmona commends IWBI for bringing together global public health thought leaders to focus on optimizing the built environment to prevent, respond to, mitigate and recover from “all hazards” to the United States to include coronavirus. 

The built environment is an essential element in physical and mental health as well as preventing disease.

“The urgency of action towards mitigating the physical, emotional and economic impacts of this virus and other respiratory infections cannot be overstated,” says Dr. Allen. 

“Nor can the outsized impact that can occur if we improve our buildings, as well as the policies, protocols and procurement guidelines organizations have in place, so that they work together to protect and improve the health of everyone. 

“This pandemic is the challenge of our time and buildings will play a central role in our response, and ultimate recovery.“

“The aim of the Task Force is twofold,” says IWBI President Rachel Gutter. 

“First, to identify and develop a set of signature deliverables and resources, including guidelines for individuals, organizations and communities to help them better integrate actionable insights and proven strategies into how they manage both their buildings and their organizations.” 

“Second, the Task Force will assess ways in which the WELL Building Standard (WELL) itself can be further strengthened so the system, which touches more than a half-billion square feet of space across 58 countries, can best continue to support prevention and preparedness, resiliency and recovery in this critical moment and into the future.”

“WELL already reflects the massive amount of current health research and data we’ve amassed and integrated since its launch in late 2014.” 

“But the landscape shifted at the first of the year with the global onset of this virus. We are committed to making sure we share freely everything we’ve learned with our global community and beyond.” 

“We owe it to everyone to make sure the comprehensive, evidence-based interventions that we’ve codified in WELL move us in the direction of better health and enhanced resilience for everyone, everywhere.”