Park Prescription: Partnership
The National ParkRx Initiative is currently hosting a three-part webinar series about creating and sustaining park prescription programs in your department. I recently attended part one: partnership of this series and found the information extremely interesting. Today’s wellness blog will detail some of what I learned from attending this webinar.
In case you are unfamiliar with park prescription programs, I want to first cover the basics. According to the National Park Rx Initiative, “Park prescriptions are programs designed in collaboration among public land agencies, healthcare providers, and community partners to encourage people to utilize parks, trails, and open space for the purpose of improving individual and community health.”
Put in simpler terms, medical providers can prescribe individuals suffering from ailments including obesity, depression, anxiety, stress, social isolation, chronic disease, and inactivity to spend time outdoors in their local parks in an effort to help cure the issues. The health benefits of park prescription are bountiful, and are discussed here.
In order for park prescriptions to be effective, good partnerships have to be established. Incorporating medical professionals like doctors, public health departments, medical groups & practices, and hospitals is vital to the success of your program for a few key reasons:
Medical professionals need to believe that the parks they are sending their patients to are safe, well run, and that the programs will be beneficial to their health.
Medical professionals reach and identify potential candidates for park prescription programs and refer them to your department.
Collaboration from medical professionals in the planning phase of park prescription programs will allow for more of a commitment in actually referring patients to the program.
For even more reasons why partnerships are necessary when establishing a park prescription program, please click this link.
If your department is interested in establishing a park prescription program, there are a few tips to help you create partnerships with local medical groups.
The webinar also stressed the importance of finding a “champion” in the medical profession. This champion should be an individual passionate about park prescription programs, and an advocate for the adoption of similar practices. Once found, this medical provider champion can be a great resource in recruiting other medical providers to try your program.
Park prescriptions are something that I have become increasingly interested in. In the future, I hope to dive deeper into park prescription programs and provide you with resources, potential partners, and more information on how to start a program. If your department has or is planning to start a park prescription program, I would love to find out more information. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share!
Until next time,