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James M. Hunt

AIA Emeritus
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Founder BHFC, Consultant Emeritus, Retired

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James M. Hunt, Founder and Consultant Emeritus of Behavioral Health Facility Consulting, LLC, is a behavioral healthcare facility design consultant who has recently retired and lives in Topeka, Kansas. His experience includes more than 50 years as a practicing architect and facility management professional. Jim began his career practicing architecture for several major healthcare projects. He then served as director of facilities management for the Menninger Clinic for 20 years (1982-2002).


While at Menninger he participated in the design, operation and maintenance of their inpatient, outpatient, halfway houses and residences for their program for chronically mentally ill patients. This allowed him to fully understand not only the design criteria but also the day to day needs and long-term maintenance and operation of these facilities. Her also assisted with their national Clinical Network Program which managed psychiatric Units in hospitals across the United States.


He has worked on construction projects with over 40 hospitals in more than 20 states and British Columbia, Canada in the last ten years alone. These projects have included the full continuum of care from all types of inpatient facilities through partial hospitalization, residential treatment, intensive outpatient and the full range of outpatient and addictions treatment. Also, in this time period, he has performed Patient and Staff Safety Reviews for 81 existing facilities in 29 states.


Mr. Hunt is a native of Kansas; throughout his career was a registered architect in the state of Kansas. He is a graduate of Kansas State University, College of Architecture and Design with a 5-Year Bachelor of Architecture Degree (1969 B. Arch). He is currently a member of American Institute of Architects and its Academy of Architecture Health. He speaks frequently and contributes to furthering the understanding of the design professions as to the unique needs and requirements of behavioral healthcare facilities on a national level. Also, he regularly publishes articles and speaks at major conferences on the unique requirements for successful behavioral healthcare design. He is the coauthor of “Behavioral Health Design Guide” that is published electronically free of charge at He has also published over 25 articles in various publications.


He has been invited by The Joint Commission (TJC) to participate in their Suicide Risk Reduction Expert Panel of national leaders in behavioral health care. This group is assisting TJC and CMS with a new understanding of the appropriate levels of risk allowable in inpatient, residential treatment, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient settings. This group is a standing committee that will be working in this capacity as these organizations work towards a new understanding of these issues.

The National Association of Psychiatric Hospitals presented Jim with their Quality Leadership Award in 2013, and the Institute for Patient Centered Design honored him with their Legacy Award in 2018.


  • Bachelor of Architecture, Kansas State University (1969)


  • Past Registered Architect: Kansas


  • Forty years of experience with designing, managing and operating behavioral health facilities.

  • Panelist for The Joint Commission Suicide Risk Reduction Expert Panel

  • Co-Author Emeritus, “Behavioral Health Design Guide,” 2003 to current edition

  • Publishes articles and give presentations frequently

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