The mission of the Center for Health & Nature, a collaboration between Houston Methodist, Texan by Nature, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center, is to drive research to study the impact of nature on health with evidence-based programs that complement the full continuum of health care: prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Houston Methodist logo
Texan by Nature logo
Texas A&M Health Science Center logo

Message from the Directors

The Center for Health & Nature (CHN) was established as a unique and powerful partnership between Houston Methodist, Texas A&M University, Texan by Nature in 2018 with a vision towards improving health through exposure to nature’s healing elements. As part of this vision, we have now secured institutional core funding for the center for the next three years and have established a healthy research innovation fund to support research that will accelerate the adoption of nature into the practice of medicine, the healthcare delivery system, and environments we live and work in daily.

The last four years have been marked with advancement in knowledge and dissemination mostly in the area of how to study the impact of nature (methodology), facilities and urban design that incorporates green space, and empirically proving that elements of nature can improve mental and physical health. As we head into the next three years, with a solid and informed strategic plan, we expect to continue our track record of disseminating knowledge while focusing on two implementation projects (NatureRx and the Healing Garden at Houston Methodist), which are designed to serve as both a laboratory of more rigorous research and a vehicle towards new environmental sustainability behaviors amongst both individuals, institutions and industry.

The impact of our work at the CHN is expected to go beyond sharing practice and policy implications with the public; we are expecting to make an impact of health and environmental sustainability behaviors, behaviors that will not only improve our health but also preserve and enhance our environment, our green space, and our most valuable medicine, nature. We passionately work towards making “Health for All Through Nature” a reality for Americans.

Jay Maddock, PhD, Director

Bita Kash, PhD, MBA, Co-Director

Our Goal — To enhance health and healing through nature.

The Healing Power of Nature

For decades, hospital environments were a reflection of strict clinical utility – stark, cold and sterile. Everywhere from lobbies to corridors to patient rooms reinforced the understanding that you were there to be examined, to be tested. Consistent reminders that you were sick. Recently, though, we have begun to understand that medical care is more effective in environments that promote healing. That we can develop evidence-based, medically sound methods for patients to benefit from something that we all intuitively know – connecting with nature is good for us. As leaders in medical innovation, conservation, research, and education, Houston Methodist, Texan by Nature, and Texas A&M University are pioneering the use of nature as an innovative health care delivery system by establishing the Center for Health & Nature.

CHN Leadership

Marc L. Boom, MD, Former First Lady Laura Bush, John Sharp

Our Unique Partnership

The Center for Health & Nature is a partnership between Houston Methodist Hospital, Texan by Nature, and Texas A&M Health. It is the only collaboration in the world of a health system, a conservation foundation, and a university to advance our understanding of nature as a health system. Each partner brings unique perspective and expertise to the Center.

Houston Methodist provides health researchers, health care providers, and healthcare policymakers.

  • Research methodology
  • Clinical research and implementation
  • Educate researchers, clinicians, and administrators

Texans by Nature provides conservation and industry partners for research, implementation, and evaluation

  • Restoration and conservation
  • Industry research and implementation
  • Educate industry and NGOs

Texas A&M University provides expertise in public heath, architecture/landscaping, urban planning, and ag extension.

  • Research methodology
  • Facilities and urban design
  • Public heath interventions
  • Educate academics and policymakers

Support Our Work

There are many ways to get involved and support our mission. Collaborate on garden projects, sponsor or attend our symposium, or make a contribution to the Center for Health & Nature Collaborative Research Innovation Fund to support research projects that help us understand the connection between nature and health. Contact us for more information.

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