e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Joanne Mahoney to Co-chair IWBI COVID-19 Task Force 4/9/2020


The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) announced the addition of four renowned industry, academic and public health leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, China and Singapore as the newest co-chairs of its Task Force on COVID-19 and other Respiratory Infections: Prevention and Preparedness, Resilience and Recovery. They join expert co-chairs from the U.S. and others from China who will help define the critical role buildings, organizations and communities play in reducing the health burden from this and other infectious diseases.

Adding to the expertise of the Task Force as co-chairs are Despina Katsikakis, international partner and head of occupier business performance at Cushman & Wakefield; Dr. Wang Qingqin, vice president of China Academy of Building Science (CABR); Dr. Lam Khee Poh, Provost's Chair professor of Architecture and Building and dean, School of Design And Environment, National University of Singapore, and Joanne Mahoney, chief operating officer at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York.

Additionally, more than 225 experts from public health, government, academia and businesses worldwide, as well as the architecture, design, building science and real estate communities, have heeded a global call to action to contribute their knowledge during this worldwide public health emergency. With task force members hailing from dozens of countries, they represent strong engagement across sectors, regions and industries and stand ready to share insights about protecting global health through building design and operations, as well as organizational policies and practices. Task force members are participating from some of the most innovative and respected Fortune 500 companies, global architectural and engineering firms, real estate service firms, manufacturing companies, school districts, federal agencies, cities, trade associations, research institutions and national non-profits.

"We have been truly overwhelmed by the passionate response of our global community to raise their hands and get involved in the Task Force on COVID-19," said IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. "This task force provides a mechanism to focus on this immediate challenge and collect and apply the expertise and insight of hundreds of leaders from their respective fields."

The work of the task force is two-fold, said Fedrizzi. First is 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.

They will collaborate on this fast-tracked effort through an innovative community portal that will serve as the hub for the work of the task force and enable digital crowdsourcing from a global community of experts across subject matters.

"Our team moved quickly and built an online portal to facilitate dialogue amongst hundreds of experts, in dozens of countries, 24 hours a day over the next month," said Rachel Gutter, IWBI president. "We are confident the platform fits the purpose and will allow us to dramatically expedite the creation of the resources and guidance we so desperately need."

Gutter noted that the importance of moving quickly to translate actionable strategies into practice isn't lost on this group. "The public health professionals at the table remind us that there is no time to waste."

The IWBI is leading the global movement to transform our buildings, communities and organizations in ways that help people thrive.