By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities hospital is hoping some new purchases will help heal patients — and those purchases have nothing to do with medicine.

Hennepin County Medical Center is known for being a level one trauma center, it’s also distinguished by its 1970s architecture. As of this week, that’s changing.

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The music, the décor and the million-dollar views almost make you forget this is somewhere no one really wants to end up.

“There aren’t many occasions you come to a hospital or clinic or specialty center that are joyous occasions,” Andrew Malovrh, a physical therapist at HCMC, said.

For years, Malovrh and his peers have had to try and cheer up patients in some rather drab environments. But the newly unveiled HCMC clinic and specialty center is designed to heal.

Kelly Spratt is the Chief Ambulatory Officer at HCMC, and helped bring the project together.

“Lots of research has occurred in this area,” she said. “If you introduce art and light, it’s part of the natural healing process.”

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Children’s Hospitals have been doing it for years — now HCMC’s children and adults are getting some cheer too, with floor to ceiling windows, local art featuring people from diverse backgrounds, and bright colors.

“The fun part is just to see the expression in our personnel and our staff’s faces just when they come into this environment, especially given some of the aesthetics they’ve come from across the street in some of our clinics,” Spratt said.

The design is a welcomed distraction to HCMC’s Dr. John Silkensen. He’s a doctor-turned-patient who broke his leg.

“It’s beautiful, nice views,” he said, adding that the environment would be “conducive to healing.”

Aesthetic inspiration for those who could use a boost.

“When we have something as nice as this, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to envision a bright future,” Malovrh, who is Dr. Silkensesn’s therapist, said.

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The new clinic will serve around 700,000 patients a year for everything from outpatient surgery, to pediatric care, to dental care. They also offer brand-new underground parking.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield