When leaders of the Cherokee Nation asked us to design the new Sam Hider Community Health Center, they shared their vision of a culturally attuned setting that would make patients feel at home. Specifically, they sought to incorporate cultural cues aligned with Cherokee heritage and arts, honoring the Cherokee Heritage Center established in 1963.
The fact is, many patients feel a sense of unease at healthcare clinics, while others avoid them for fear of the unknown. By giving Cherokee Nation citizens a culturally familiar and sensitive experience, our collaborative team sought to make the new center an inviting resource to enhance the health of the community.
We started with the patients’ first encounter, where the clinic’s brick exterior imitates the patterns of Cherokee basket weaving. A reference to the sacred fire greets patients near the entrance.