In the News

An East Bay physician prescribed an outdoors adventure in Alameda to Ana Muñoz and her daughters, Anahi and Raquel, earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Sam Zide

How Nature Heals: Why East Bay Doctors Are Prescribing The Outdoors To People Of Color

May 18 2017

Doctors and experts also say there are too many barriers for communities of color to access parks.

Pair hiking

Natural medicine: Urban families explore benefits of the outdoors

Apr 10 2017

Every month, Razani — a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland — escorts families she knows through her practice to a different East Bay regional park. They have only one goal: to be in nature. They may learn something, they may get some exercise and vitamin D, but their assignment is to just be.

People exercising at Crissy Field

Surmounting Barriers to Public Health/ Park Agency Partnerships: Insights From a County Public Health Department

Mar 21 2016

The American Public Health Association (APHA) recently recommended that health professionals partner with park agencies in order to use nature for health promotion.

The healing power of nature

Your Call: The healing power of nature

Mar 8 2016

Research shows that spending time in nature enhances our mental and physical well-being, but only about 10 percent of teens and 5 percent of adults spend time outdoors. What’s being done to get more people outside? How often do you spend time in nature and what are the benefits? To answer these questions, this segment of KALW features University of Utah's Dr. David Strayer, and Dr. Nooshin Razani of Oakland Children’s Hospital & Research Center.

OpenRoad with Doug McConnell in Marin City

Marin City Parks and Trails

Feb 3 2016

Visit Marin City and meet people committed to improving the health and well being of all the community’s residents in part through exercise outdoors in public parks and open spaces.  We’ll learn about Marin City’s "Park Prescription” program, associated with our region-wide "Health Parks Healthy People” initiative.

Just What the Doctor Ordered, Environmental Health Perspectives

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Using Parks to Improve Children’s Health

Oct 1 2015

For children today, time spent outdoors is becoming more of a luxury—or in some cases, a chore—than a staple. In recent years “nature deficit disorder” among kids has evolved from a turn of phrase to a cultural indictment. Smartphones and other screens are increasingly vying for kids’ attention, but blame lies elsewhere, too.

People hiking in the hills, photo courtesy of Kirke Wrench, NPS

New Studies Reinforce the Benefits of Getting Outdoors

Jul 17 2015

We’ve long known that getting active outdoors can reduce stress, improve mental health, and help us get fit or lose weight. Recently, several studies completed or underway are looking for definitive evidence of the benefits of spending time in nature. In a study by Stanford University published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a research team worked with 38 healthy adults.

People stretching at a HPHP: Bay Area program at Coyote Hills in East Bay Regional Parks, photo courtesy of Institute at the Golden Gate

Physicians in SF are prescribing park time to patients

Apr 26 2015

Dubbed a park prescription, such instructions have become a common theme among health care providers in The City in recent years due to a joint effort between doctors and parks officials to increase a patient’s time spent outdoors rather than encouraging them to reach inside the medicine cabinet.

As part of Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area, East Bay Regional Park District and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland partner to take patients into nature for health.

Park Prescriptions in Practice

Aug 1 2014

When park agencies collaborate with healthcare providers to offer seamless information and programming for community members, this creates a powerful movement. This relationship-building between parks staff, healthcare providers and community members allows agencies to designate staff and resources to achieve this mutual goal.

HPHP: Bay Area Launch at Crissy Field, photo courtesy of Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

The Bay Area’s Healthy Parks, Healthy People Movement

Jul 19 2013

One of the benefits of Healthy Parks, Healthy People, along with healthier living, is developing a new appreciation for our local outdoor spaces. This, in turn, could generate a new group of park supporters who advocate for preserving our nation’s natural resources.

Press Releases

Park Prescription Day
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

 Experience the physical, mental, and social health benefits of parks first-hand at the second annual National ParkRx Day at Crissy Field on Sunday, April 23, 2017, organized by the Institute at the Golden Gate and Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area.

National ParkRx Day Richmond
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Enjoy bicycling, seed planting, guided park walks and low-impact exercise Sunday during National Park Rx Day at John F. Kennedy Park in Richmond. 

HPHP: Bay Area First Saturday Programs launch at Crissy Field in 2013
Saturday, June 1, 2013

Adults, children and families were out in the parks this Saturday, many for the first time. Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Bay Area launched programs offering monthly free or low cost, introductory, and culturally appropriate activities to link those at high health risk to the benefits of spending time outside.