CHN is currently in the planning phase of implementing nature prescriptions, capitalizing on our medical, conservation, and public health expertise.
Our Texas A&M Health team has developed a program proposal, that we will refine with our Houston Methodist team, and implement among primary care physicians and cardiology specialists at Houston Methodist during the first quarter of 2023.
The initiative builds on an initial ParkRx pilot project, which already has received Institutional Review Board approval. As part of this larger scale implementation project and study, Houston Methodist medical practitioners will make prescriptions to visit local parks, for a variety of physical and mental health concerns, with the goal of improving their health and well-being by spending time in nature. The study will also evaluate the effect of the NatureRx prescription on sustainability behaviors.
Healing Garden at Houston Methodist Hospital’s Centennial Tower
Houston Methodist is currently in the process of developing Centennial Tower, a 26-story hospital tower to house a new and larger emergency department, enhanced imaging services, and hundreds of additional hospital beds. The 14th floor will feature an outdoor rooftop Healing Garden, complete with trees and landscaping to provide patients, visitors, and staff with an outdoor respite for rehabilitative and therapeutic healing.
Through the Center for Health & Nature, Houston Methodist and a Landscape Architecture Design class at Texas A&M collaborated to develop an evidence-based design for the healing garden. Elements of the winning design will be featured in the new garden, slated to open in 2027.
Houston Botanic Garden Partnership
In May 2022, Houston Botanic Garden hosted a Nurture by Nature festival, featuring speakers from the Center for Health and Nature to educate the public on how nature can be used in healing. The festival was free to neighbors of the Garden to encourage equitable access. Dr. Maddock served as the keynote speaker for the Houston Botanical Gardens Annual Luncheon in October of 2022.
The two organizations are also exploring creating a Science of Health and Nature walking tour through various ecosystems within the Garden. The tour is to be developed by clinicians from Houston Methodist and CHN researchers, to teach the science behind the impact of nature on health in a hands-on setting.
Assessing Diverse Users of the Bayou-Greenways
In partnership with the Houston Parks Board, Center faculty are using geospatial measures, observations and intercept survey to understand who is using the Bayou-Greenways trails. More importantly, we hope to find who is not using the Bayou-Greenways trails. Answers to these questions can help inform community-based initiatives to enhance the use of the trails for all Houstonians.