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Nature Rx

This pilot project focuses on identifying older people’s unique challenges and needs when designing nature-based mental health interventions for older adults.

With the rising rates of mental health problems, there have been growing interests in “nature prescription.” Nature prescription is an emerging concept where doctors prescribe their patients to spend time in nature to promote health and wellbeing. The existing nature prescription models are often centered around healthy, able-bodied individuals, lacking consideration of older people’s unique challenges and needs. This project brings together an interdisciplinary team to develop frameworks and methods for a larger clinical study of nature prescriptions for older adults in Utah and the Intermountain West. Using qualitative methods, we will explore barriers and facilitators to implementing and sustaining nature prescriptions to improve mental health in older adults. We are already working together with the University of Utah Aging Brain Care Program to develop an effective nature prescription model with older patients currently receiving treatments and care. We are also building a partnership with the Red Butte Garden to develop a community referral program. This pilot project will help us construct critical baseline data for the design, monitoring, and evaluation of a larger clinical study to examine the effects of nature prescriptions on older adults’ mental wellbeing in Utah and the Intermountain West.

This research is funded by the Utah Nature and Human Health Group and the Center on Aging.

If you are an undergraduate student interested in summer research, contact me at and apply to the SPUR project by January 28, 2024.

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