Kent State Healthcare Design Researcher Receives $2.47 Million to Design Safer and More Efficient Level I Trauma Rooms

Traumatic injuries are the third leading cause of death nationally and the first in Americans age 44 and younger, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Level I trauma rooms are intended to stabilize and save the lives of patients with the most severe traumatic injuries. 

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded a $2.47 million grant to a Kent State University researcher to help create trauma rooms that support staff in saving patients’ lives. Sara Bayramzadeh, Ph.D., coordinator and Elliot Professor in the Healthcare Design Program at Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, will establish a Patient Safety Learning Lab to produce new guidelines for Level I trauma room design. 

Bayramzadeh’s project, “Toward a Model of Safety and Care for Trauma Room Design,” will use design as a tool to improve efficient care in Level I trauma rooms. The project brings together a team of researchers from Kent State and Cleveland Clinic Akron General for the next four years. The study is based on the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model mandated by AHRQ’s Patient Safety Learning Labs’ program.

“The SEIPS model’s five components of organization, people, tasks, technology and the physical environment are an explicit example of how cross-disciplinary work is essential to holistically examine the processes that lead to improved safety outcomes,” Bayramzadeh said. 

According to the Joint Commission, a national nonprofit that accredits and certifies healthcare organizations and programs, 7-9% of deaths in Level I trauma rooms are due to preventable errors. Bayramzadeh’s project will identify some of the preventable errors related to the physical environment. The project will develop design strategies to integrate technology such that future adaptability is maximized, as new models of care emerge over time.

The project will evolve through five phases as required by the AHRQ. Bayramzadeh’s team will first identify problems associated with trauma rooms. The design and development phases will involve Healthcare Design graduate students to provide innovative design solutions. In the implementation phase, a high-fidelity mock-up of a trauma room will be built, which will facilitate the fifth phase of the project – evaluation – to test the effectiveness of the proposed design strategies through trauma scenario simulations.

The project includes a partnership with Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s Ali F. Mallat, MD, MS, FACS, Executive Medical Director, Acute Care Surgery; Jessica Krizo, Ph.D., Research Faculty, Emergency Medicine and Trauma Surgery; and Steven E. Brooks, MD, FACEP, Chair of Emergency Medicine; Kent State researchers Mary Anthony, Ph.D., RN, associate dean for research in the College of Nursing, and Douglas Delahanty, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences; former Kent State faculty member Kambiz Ghazinour Naini, Ph.D., who is now an assistant professor at SUNY Canton; as well as graduate students from Kent State’s Healthcare Design Program and honor students from the College of Nursing.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit

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About Sara Bayramzadeh
Sara Bayramzadeh, Ph.D., joined Kent State University as the head of the Healthcare Design program in 2018. She is recognized for research on patient safety in psychiatric units and operating rooms. Her practice-based research experience includes collaborations with HGA Architects and Engineers and BBH Design. Before joining Kent State, she was a research assistant professor in Clemson University’s Architecture + Health program and a member of the Center for Health Facilities Design and Testing. She is involved with the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH), the AAH Foundation, AAH Next Generation Committee and the AIA Cleveland Healthcare. Bayramzadeh holds a Master of Architecture from Miami University of Ohio and a Ph.D. in Design, Construction and Planning with a concentration in Interior Design from the University of Florida (2015).

About the Master of Healthcare Design Program
The Elliot Program for Master of Healthcare Design (MHCD) at Kent State University is a post-professional degree and one of the few programs in the nation that specializes on the design of the healthcare facilities. Kent State’s Healthcare Design program is a member of the American Institute of Architects’ Design & Health Research Consortium. The Master of Healthcare Design program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to design healthcare spaces conducive to safety, satisfaction and efficiency for all end users, including patients, staff and caregivers. The curriculum encompasses design studios, applied research and real-world practice experience. The coursework focuses on understanding healthcare systems, universal design, evidence-based design, systems thinking and human factors, across different facility types and patient populations. Kent State also offers an online graduate certificate in Health Systems and Facilities Design, open to anyone.

Media Contacts:
Dan Pompili,, 330-672-0731
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595


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POSTED: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:36 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 03:11 PM
Dan Pompili