Four dayhikers stand above a seaside cliff, greeting the limitless expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

Nature and Health at the University of Washington

Nature and Health at University of Washington is a collection of scientists, practitioners, and community members seeking to understand how time spent in nature improves health and well-being.

In today’s world, people often see the physical benefits and beauty of nature but have limited awareness of its positive effect on holistic health. We understand that the benefits of health and nature are not equitably distributed, as well as the negative impacts in communities that have had that connection to nature interrupted or erased. We use that understanding to develop better programs and policies to improve our convenings, research and communications on the topics of health and nature.

By establishing partnerships with both the local Seattle community and across the U.S., Nature and Health offers expertise, guidance and support to grow the current body of knowledge around this topic, and to contribute to the design of health-care, education and community settings that benefit all people.

Our Nature and Health Conference continues to expand. In 2021, we will convene a global audience of scientists and practitioners under the theme, “Generating understanding across communities and disciplines.” We currently have over 100 submitted abstracts from researchers across the country and around the globe. We will integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, self-determination and other concepts that integrate social justice, Indigenous knowledge, and anti-oppression within our panels, plenary sessions, workshops, and special sessions.

We continue to focus on various health and nature research projects focused on children, underrepresented populations, the elderly, veterans, and health-care providers. Our efforts will lead to a better understanding and recognition of nature’s health benefits and in turn to improved public land policies, access to nature, and more time spent outdoors, ultimately creating healthier, more equitable, more just, and more sustainable communities.

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