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Karen Freeman Named President-Elect of Women in Healthcare

Karen Freeman, AIA, ACHA, NCIDQ, has been named president-elect of Women in Healthcare (WIH), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the professional development of women in the healthcare industry. She will assume responsibilities for the role in 2023-2024.

Freeman, who leads the Healthcare practice in HOK’s Atlanta studio, has more than 25 years experience leading project teams designing and delivering healthcare facilities.

She is a founding member of the WIH Georgia Chapter and current president of the chapter. During her tenure, Freeman and the WIH Georgia Board of Directors were recognized as the organization’s Chapter of the Year at WIH’s annual LeadHERship Summit.

“We are thrilled to be building a growing chapter in Georgia  to develop and empower women leaders in healthcare systems and associated industries across the state,” said Freeman. “I look forward to serving as Women in Healthcare’s president and helping to further develop and implement many of the ideas we have aspired to as an organization since our inception in 2016.”

“Filling the shoes of our founder Ashley Schmidt will not be an easy task,” said Freeman. “However, we have an incredible team of women’s leaders serving on our National Board of Directors and I’m excited by this opportunity.”

Freeman will be the first president of the organization to succeed Schmidt. A frequent speaker and author on healthcare facility design trends, she holds a Six Sigma Lean Black Belt in Healthcare (LBBH) and is one of fewer than 450 board-certified healthcare architects in the U.S. per the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA). Her thought leadership has been featured internationally in media outlets including Building Better Healthcare Magazine and She has delivered more than four-million square feet of healthcare space in her career.

Freeman is a committed mentor, helping develop and inspire young students, emerging talent and women in the field. Beyond involvement in HOK’s internal mentoring program, she can be found mentoring students studying healthcare design at Florida State University’s Department of Interior Architecture and Design, participating in jury panels at the University of Central Florida’s School of Visual Arts and Design and serving as a thesis advisor and guest critic at Georgia State University’s Earnest G. Welch School of Art & Design.

Her passion for creating environments that elevate the dignity and build health service capacity extends into her volunteer work globally. In 2018, Freeman was part of a Habitat for Humanity team that traveled to Malawi to construct four houses in a village outside of Lilongwe, at the base of Ngala Mountain.

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