Healthy Parks Healthy People (HPHP) is an international initiative, founded by Parks Victoria, Australia, that has been embraced by more than 30 countries. This initiative recognizes that individual and community health are reliant on a thriving parks system that is valued highly by the community that it serves.
Seeking to play an active role in preventative health care, East Bay Regional Park District in 2010 brought HPHP to the United States. This was done in the hope of embedding the connections between human health, environmental health, and ecological health within the mission and purpose of public parks.
In 2011, East Bay Regional Park District, the National Park Service, and the Institute at the Golden Gate came together to form the HPHP Regional Collaboative
This initiative expanded in 2012 to become the Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area collaborative (HPHP: Bay Area), bringing together park and health agencies throughout the Bay Area, all united under the vision that parks have a role to play in building community health.
The collaborative seeks to be a space for park and health agencies to share best practices and workshop programmatic challenges. This partnership between park and health agencies is a natural one, as they both seek to reach the same demographic—those who do not have access to parks as a means to maintain their health.
HPHP: Bay Area works to:
- Increase the use of parks by those who are at high risk for chronic disease
- Make sure that park programs not only encourage physical activity, but also offer social connection and support
- Foster stewardship among new park users through park programs
The collaborative accomplishes these goals through two initiatives: First Saturday programs and Park Prescription programs. First Saturday programs are introductory walking/physical activity programs that occur on the first Saturday of each month throughout the Bay Area. Park Prescriptions are park programs designed in collaboration between park and medical professionals.