The MISSION of Park Rx is to enable healthcare providers to prescribe patient visits to parks and other natural areas in real-time in the clinical practice setting. The VISION of the program is to strengthen the connection between natural areas and improvement of the human condition via healthcare providers recognizing and embracing nature as a resource for improving our physical, mental, and societal well-being. Park Rx America is the only Park Rx program to link a "park formulary'' (searchable database of parks) directly into the electronic health record (EHR) to allow providers the ability to prescribe parks "real time" to their patients. If providers are to be convinced of prescribing parks, Park Rx has to be relevant to their work, and easy to use. We have demonstrated scalability by replicating our model in diverse park agencies and health provider organizations. Park agency partners make verified data on park sites available to Park Rx America. The data are provided on specified attributes.
The Department of Parks and Recreation has joined the national park prescription initiative (Park Rx). Park Rx is a program that uses the connection between health care professionals, parks and recreation specialists and organizations, and public lands to improve the physical and mental health of the individuals and communities they serve. As a nationally well-respected leader in our field for the top-quality services we already provide, the Department of Parks and Recreation is excited by this new partnership and is dedicated to utilizing this new avenue to connect patients/customers with our parks and services to improve their quality of life. We believe this will encourage overall behavioral change, improve health outcomes, and foster new stewards and advocates for public lands.
Substantial research has already been done on the therapeutic benefits of being in nature. For example, spending time in green spaces lowers cortisol levels and blood pressure. Park Rx America is collaborating with academic research centers to research the effectiveness of the Park Rx America park prescription model.
GOALS OF PARK RX AMERICA
- Help doctors and other health professionals "prescribe nature" to patients and families during routine delivery of health care
- Change patient and family behavior through increased time spent outdoors (subsequently reducing the effects of chronic disease)
- Create the next generation of environmental and park stewards through outdoor exploration and experience
- Evaluate the effects of Park Rx on park utilization, overall park experience, and measurable health outcomes
- Publish research findings in peer-reviewed journals and publications pertaining to health and wellness, public lands, outdoors, nature, and recreation.