UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer & Jennifer Armenta, Green Impact, September 2015

UCSF Green Champion - Yelena Libova, RN Wins UCSF Sustainability Award

YelenaYelena Libova is a registered nurse in the Neurological ICU and is dedicated to “living green”. This won her the UCSF Sustainability Award in the Medical Center Staff category. Yelena’s hard work promoting sustainability led to a Gold Level Living Green Certification, making Neuro ICU the first inpatient hospital unit to attain certification this year. Her actions motivated others in her facility which have been instrumental in helping UCSF reach their environmental sustainability goals.

Yelena’s efforts in working toward this goal included introducing compost bins in break rooms and bathrooms, transitioning to 100% post-consumer waste paper, advocating for purchasing of duplex printers, replacing disposable with reusable flatware in break rooms, collecting single use devices for reprocessing, and providing information on waste reduction efforts in welcome packets for patients and new hires. She is also working on organizing a staff tour of the Recology plant to see how UCSF waste is processed. Chancellor Hawgood explained, “Yelena has done all of this great work outside of her clinical work duties. Her innovation and dedication to sustainability is an inspiration to the entire Neuro ICU staff.”
Each month we have been interviewing one of the 2015 Sustainability Award winners. This month we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Solomon about UCSF and some of the actions she has taken to make her department more sustainable.

Why do you think sustainability is important for UCSF?

Sustainability is important everywhere, but especially at UCSF because this facility is a leader in healthcare, teaching and research. It is also exciting to see all of the important sustainability efforts that are going on at the UCSF campus. All of these efforts are teaching the faculty, staff and students that our environment is important to us all and that we can all make a difference.

What do you see as the link between health and the environment?

We are one with our environment. Our good health depends on the air we breathe, the food we eat, and all of the products we buy. By polluting our planet, we are becoming more sick.

What accomplishment are you most proud of around promoting LiveGreen at UCSF?

As a result of completing the green checklist we were able to make many sustainable changes in our facility. However, I am really proud that we now have compost bins in the break rooms, bathrooms and hallways. We are now able to compost waste that was just going in the landfill.

What is one action you would like to see your fellow staff take?

My fellow co-workers are very supportive of our green efforts already. Every week someone approaches me with another idea of how we can be more sustainable. It would make me very happy to see everyone correctly sorting items in the recycling, compost, and waste bins on our units. Even these little actions make a difference. I think it is important for us to keep looking at the everyday functioning of clinical units to see how we can be more green.