Institute at the Golden Gate Spurs National "Park Prescriptions" Movement

For Immediate Release
August 27, 2010

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Cindy MacKenzie or Kat English
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INSTITUTE AT THE GOLDEN GATE SPURS NATIONAL “PARK PRESCRIPTIONS” MOVEMENT

Institute Unites Cross-Sector Coalition to Advance Health and the Outdoors; Program to be Highlighted in ‘America’s Great Outdoors’ Listening Session on August 31

SAUSALITO, CA, August 27, 2010: The Institute at the Golden Gate takes its message to “connect, collaborate, inspire and act” to the national stage next week as a cross-sector coalition of physicians, environmentalists, park managers, health insurers, government officials and youth leaders gather in Chicago to advance the growing Park Prescriptions movement.

        The direct result of collaboration initiated by the Institute at the Golden Gate at its annual Turning the Tide conference, Park Prescriptions is designed to strengthen the connections between the American health care system and parks and public lands.  Through the efforts of the Institute and the American Recreation Coalition, Park Prescriptions has come to the attention of the Obama administration and will be spotlighted during its Health and the Outdoors listening session, to be held in Chicago on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 as part of the President’s ‘America’s Great Outdoors’ (AGO) initiative. The public is invited to participate in the discussion by logging on to the AGO website: (www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors).

        “Park Prescriptions takes an innovative, proactive approach to utilizing parks and public lands as health resources,” said Cleveland Justis, director of the Institute at the Golden Gate.  “It’s an exciting example of the Institute bringing people with great ideas together to work toward solutions to today’s most pressing public issues—from the health of our planet to the health of our population.”

         Leading the Park Prescriptions physicians’ network nationally are Dr. Michael Suk, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Florida, Jacksonville and a former White House fellow who is a panelist at the AGO Chicago listening session; and Dr. Daphne Miller, a family practice physician and associate professor at the University of California San Francisco.  Following their participation at Turning the Tide, Suk and Miller embarked on assembling a broad-based coalition of partners to position Park Prescriptions as an innovative national model for health care reform within the medical community. 

     “Lack of physical activity and poor diet has been established as the cause of an unhealthy, overweight nation, and the consequences are felt by all of us, including individuals, family members, employers and the health care system,” said Dr. Miller.  “A growing body of research suggests that exposure to nature and the outdoors has significant health benefits, and Park Prescriptions aims to get doctors, insurers, park employees and citizens all working together toward this goal.

     “If we can get physicians to prescribe physical activity in nature, insurers to create incentives for getting outside, park employees to develop exercise programs, and the general public to participate, we can have a significant impact in both preventing and treating chronic health problems associated with inactivity and obesity,” she said.

    The Institute at the Golden Gate has published a summary of existing national programs that capitalize on parks and the outdoors as health resources. “Park Prescriptions: Profiles and Resources for Good Health from the Great Outdoors” is available online at www.instituteatgoldengate.org/parkprescriptions. 

About the Institute at the Golden Gate
The Institute at the Golden Gate is a program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service, promoting dialogue, collaboration, and action for a sustainable world. The Institute draws on the talent, innovation, and motivation of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and from the magnificent facilities at Fort Baker and Cavallo Point–the Lodge at the Golden Gate, to foster relationships with a diverse, cross-sector array of groups, organizations and individuals who share a common commitment to environmental action and change. For more information please visit www.instituteatgoldengate.org or call (415) 561-3560.


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About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Conservancy is an authorized “cooperating association” of the National Park Service, and is one of more than 70 such nonprofit organizations working with national parks around the country. To learn more, please visit www.parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.

About the National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior charged with managing the preservation and public use of America’s most significant natural, scenic, historic, and cultural treasures. The NPS manages the Golden Gate National Parks, as well as 394 other park sites across the U.S. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/goga or call (415) 561-4700.