2018 SHIFT for the Planet Jury’s Choice Award

OrganizationPark Rx America
InitiativePark Prescription Formulary
LocationWashington, D.C. 
Founded2017
LeadershipRobert Zarr, MD, Founder & Medical Director
John Henderson, Executive Director
Matthew Scribner, Chief Technology Officer
ContactDr. Robert Zarr, DocZarr@parkrxamerica.org

Initiative Overview

Americans are suffering and dying prematurely because of chronic disease that in turn results from poor diet, inactivity, and chronic stress. Despite 300 scientific studies linking improved health outcomes to time in Nature, most doctors are unaware of the relevance and accessibility of the park prescription. Doctors can and should prescribe parks. Brief interventions by doctors change patients’ behavior. Parks Rx American (“PRA”) has developed the first scalable doctor-friendly park prescription intervention by developing a unique digital platform for doctors to FIND green space, PRESCRIBE activity outside, and DOCUMENT the park prescription in any electronic health record.

Impact

PRA improves a community’s health by educating and equipping doctors with the tools to reconnect patients to Nature and renormalize being outdoors. Access to green space is a social determinant of health. Unequal access to green space is a social injustice. PRA plays a vital role in leveling the playing field among communities by reconnecting all persons to their accessible green space, regardless of a person’s color or income.

Impact by the numbers

  • Number of prescribers: 105
  • Prescriptions issued: 707
  • Prescriptions filled: 20%
  • Total park visits recorded: 323 
  • Parks in database: 4,200
  • States represented: 23

Innovation

Patients are more likely to go outside when their doctor actually prescribes it. PRA has developed a unique electronic interface that allows the doctor and patient to agree on which park to visit, but on the patient’s terms. This allows the doctor, real-time, to amplify the patient’s health promoting behavior.

Replicability

PRA has a proven record of expanding in geographically and demographically diverse areas, both rural and urban. We partner with local, regional, state, and federal land management agencies and all sizes of health provider organizations.

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