Experts Discuss Connection Between Design, Cancer at Art Museum Forum

By: Dr. Lanie Francis

We can all appreciate how the environment affects us. What we see, smell and feel translates into feelings and perceptions. Within buildings and institutions, we specifically consider the built environment. The built environment is a material, spatial and cultural product of human labor that combines physical elements and energy in forms for living, working and playing.

People with cancer face extreme mental and physical obstacles at diagnosis, during treatment, at survivorship, and at the end of life. The built environment where they experience their cancer journey is a central point, potentially influencing how they process their illness, their symptoms, and their support systems.


Dr. Lanie Francis

A panel discussion on Dec. 3 from 3-5 p.m. at the Heinz Architectural Center  at the Carnegie Museum of Art will attempt to open the dialogue related to design and cancer. I will be joining clinicians and operative professionals from around the city along with local design professionals to talk about how design-based interventions in health care settings can affect outcomes. Prompted by the current Carnegie Museum of Art exhibit “Maggie’s Centre” which highlights uniquely designed supportive care spaces throughout the United Kingdom, this discussion is an innovative and multi-disciplinary way to look at patient-centered care.

At UPMC CancerCenter, a partner with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, our Integrative Oncology program addresses the mind, body and spirit in the context of conventional cancer care utilizing movement, touch, nutrition and mindfulness. Our program highlights questions about how the environment can affect coping and resiliency in people with cancer. Upcoming Integrative Oncology events and research projects will specifically highlight the role of design and the built environment in cancer.

Dr. Lanie Francis, program director of the Integrative Oncology at UPMC CancerCenter and clinical assistant professor of Medicine, will be on the panel on Dec. 3 from 3-5 pm at the Carnegie Museum of Art in the Hall of Architecture. This is a free event and a reception will follow. Find more information here.