Park Prescriptions has grown out of a conceptual phase into a period of rapid implementation. To ensure the sustainability of the movement, the Institute at the Golden Gate recognized the need to solve the operational hurdles present in collaborations between parks and health entities—as well as the necessity to hone and measure the best delivery models currently in practice. The Institute began this process in September 2012 and recently hit a milestone by hosting a National Convening on Park Prescriptions in early October in Houston, Texas.
The Institute and the National Recreation and Park Association—with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—convened more than a dozen leaders representing the parks and health sector to refine on-the-ground tactics for program development program delivery, measurement, and professional training around park prescriptions.
Together, the partnering organizations are furthering the movement to elevate the initiative from a new idea to a best practice in preventive health. The goal of the National Park Prescriptions Initiative is to establish national standards, based on qualitative and quantitative evidence from programs across the country, to increase the quality of new and existing programs and support more accurate evaluation of program impacts. This time next year we hope to be disseminating a suite of resources to make it easier for diverse communities to implement a park prescriptions program of their own.
Experts in the fields of health, parks, and recreation are committed to making individuals and communities healthier through regular use and enjoyment of parks and public lands. In the coming years health care providers will be able to easily prescribe time outside for patients of all backgrounds—and parks will continue to be seen as places for health and wellness across the country.
See you in the parks!