Since 2009, the Institute has been building partnerships and moving ideas to action to bring the idea of Healthy Parks, Healthy People mainstream. To this point, the Institute has forged a national movement by telling the stories of successful "park prescriptions" programs around the country and inspiring leaders in the parks and health fields. With National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, Michele Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others joining the movement, there is a readiness across the country to act.

History of the Health Program

The Health program was born when the Institute took best practices from around the country and implemented them in a pilot project in our own backyard in Bayview Hunters Point. In collaboration with San Francisco Recreation and Parks and the Southeast Health Center, a clinic of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, we built a health intervention fit for the Bayview Hunters Point community.

In April 2013, the Southeast Health Center mobilized its teams of care to prescribe time in nature to patients of all ages with the help of locally specific and culturally appropriate outreach materials. All tools and materials that benefit the health center staff and patients have gone through an extensive review process to meet the unique needs of the community. Using these materials and the guidance of clinic staff, patients are now empowered and motivated to improve their physical and mental well-being. This project was made possible by a Community Benefit grant from Kaiser Permanente.

Benefits of Nature >>
Spending time outside, especially exercising in a natural setting as opposed to indoors, provides mental health and emotional benefits.

Collaborations >>
Being active outside is a small but powerful change you can make to improve your health and wellbeing. Learn how you can get involved to improve the health of your community through regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands.

Resources >>
Tools for parks, health and community organizations to work together to increase the health of our population and our parks.

For more information please contact us at

Benefits of Nature

Health Reports by the Institute