TRADING SPACES: Q&A with Joelyn Gropp You got your degree in architecture. What about that field interested you? Originally, I was thinking of going into art in college. I applied to the art program and thought, “I won’t always feel creative. Maybe I should pick something with more technical aspects.” That’s why I picked architecture. Are you glad you did? It was a great decision. One of the things I like about it is that while I like the art form of a building, it’s something you can actually engage in, walk through, occupy, and have an experience. It’s a great artistic medium. What led to your transition into the healthcare industry? When I moved from New York to San Francisco, two architecture firms accepted me. One focused on housing. The other, Ratcliff Architects, focused on healthcare. I picked healthcare and I’m so glad I did. When the economy goes through cycles, there is always work in healthcare.
OCT | NOV | DEC 2016
a step back and looked at the brand perception that NorthBay leadership wanted to maintain, and how the design of its new buildings could support it. Soon thereafter, her department was born. That department now includes three managers, three maintenance techs, a project coordinator, and an executive assistant. Gropp handles real estate development, the system’s capital construction program, and facility maintenance. She currently leads the $200 million expansion of the NorthBay Medical Center Hospital, as well as the development of the 110,000-squarefoot Wellspring Fitness Center in Vaca Valley. When it opens later in 2016, the center will include a track, pool, weight training facilities, and offices, as well as a three-story, sunlight-filled lobby and the relocated NorthBay Cancer Center. “It’s going to be a game-changer in our industry,” Gropp says. “The idea is that someone who comes in to see a doctor on the clinic side can get a prescription for exercise and do it right here. We already have one doctor who is planning to meet her patients on the track and talk with them while they’re walking.” She’s also enthusiastic about the system’s twoyear master space plan, an effort to organize operations and space on the ambulatory side that will provide the best patient experience, backfill space vacated by two other projects, and develop a standard lean clinic module for consistent care. “We’re trying to separate the patient flow from the back-of-the-house flow, similar to Disney’s onstage/off-stage philosophy,” Gropp says. “When you The Lobby Pavilion will be the first building constructed in NorthBay Healthcare’s multiphased expansion project.