In 2017, Howard Frumkin et al proposed an influential research agenda on nature contact and health, identifying principal domains of research and key questions that, if answered, would provide the basis for evidence-based public health interventions.
The authors concluded that although significant evidence regarding nature contact and its range of human health benefits was already available, much remains unknown. They furthermore proposed that a robust research effort, guided by a focus on key unanswered questions, has the potential to yield high-impact, consequential public health insights.
The 2018 SHIFT Festival focuses on the connection between public health and nature contact. A number of events focused on the research behind the connection are planned.
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, Dr. Michael Suk, one of the country’s foremost advocates for the health benefits of time outside, will open this year’s SHIFT with a national challenge to advance the Nature Rx movement.
On Tuesday evening, noted researcher Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols will keynote a presentation on water as medicine.
On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Northeastern University Professor Arthur Kramer and the University of Utah’s Professor David Strayer will make a breakfast keynote presentation on how physical activity in nature helps address chronic health care conditions such as obesity, diabetes, mental anxiety, social isolation and cognitive decline.
Later that morning, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., a panel discussion and world café will explore progress to date on the 2017 Frumpkin et al research agenda, including gaps and how and with whom to fill them.
On Thursday, Dr. Nooshin Razani, MD MPH—a 2018 SHIFT Award Official Selection for Clinical Research as well as the Director of University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland’s Center for Nature and Health—will discuss improving health equity by increasing access to nature.
On Thursday, Oct. 18, from 2-4 p.m. at the Snow King Hotel, researchers working on various facets of nature contact will gather to discuss ways to use the proceedings of The SHIFT Festival to plan a conference on the state of the research and opportunities moving forward.
As the meeting will occur at the end of SHIFT, it will be informed by the event’s conversations and presentations, as well as by the best practices—that is, the real-world work that is advancing nature as a social determinant of health—that have been showcased.