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Planetary Health & Nature as Medicine

The emerging field of planetary health recognizes the interdependence of human health and the health of the natural world, and seeks to promote sustainable development and the protection of the environment to support the well-being of both. It emphasizes the need for global cooperation and action to address the complex challenges facing our planet today, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of natural resources. Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD, medical director, and Barbara Walker, PhD, integrative health and performance psychologist, are members of the Osher Collaborative Planetary Health working group, a collaborative learning environment for Osher Collaborative members to serve the well-being of people and planet, including all life on Earth, by aligning integrative health education, research, clinical practices, and policy advocacy with planetary health. 

Nature as Medicine

group of people sitting on blankets in a park during a sound immersion experienceResearch has shown that spending time in nature offers numerous health benefits. Being surrounded by nature can help reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, enhance immune system function, and boost self-esteem and mood. People living with chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, depression, and anxiety, as well as those pre- and post-surgery, have been shown to have improved health outcomes when spending time in nature. Read more: UC News: The Healing Power of Nature 

Nature as Medicine at the Osher Center for Integrative Health

The Osher Center is actively working on incorporating Nature Prescriptions for interested patients as well as ongoing Nature as Medicine resources and support.

Parks for Wellness

group of people seated on yoga mats performing yoga in a park surrounded by trees

Through a new Parks for Wellness collaboration, the Osher Center and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation are on a mission to provide Cincinnatians with opportunities to harness the healing power of nature by providing innovative, evidence-based care and a deeper connection to our local natural world and the communities in which we live and work. The Parks for Wellness collaboration will provide health and wellness education as well as movement and mindfulness therapies in the parks, providing opportunities for social connection, and healing.

Student Courses & Resources

Bearcats Pantry - Community Resource Garden

Planetary Health Medical School Elective

The Planetary Health and Medicine course is a 4-week part-time elective for fourth year medical students to study climate change and how it impacts policy, health equity, and social justice and engage in discussion on these topics.

MEDS 2092 - Introduction to Nature Based Therapies and Ecopsychology

Undergraduate course that introduces scientifically-validated strategies around the basic theories and approaches of Nature-Based Therapeutics including restorative environments, therapeutic horticulture, animal-assisted interactions, therapeutic landscapes, forest bathing, green care farming, facilitated green exercise, wilderness therapy and ecopsychology.

Past Events

An Evening of Wellness in Nature at Ault Park

An evening wellness retreat at Ault Park co-hosted by the Osher Center for Integrative Health at the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation that welcomed over 100 attendees to harness the healing power of nature through meditation, yoga therapy, tai chi, and sound immersion.

View Pictures from the Event
Stable Wellness: An Evening of Wellness in Nature at Saddle Lake Equestrian Center

An evening wellness retreat that offered a myriad of experiential sessions hosted by the Osher Center for Integrative Health at the University of Cincinnati including yoga, mindfulness, and equestrian wellness and understanding with the horses of Saddle Lake Equestrian Center.

View Pictures from the Event

Community Resources

Planetary Health Team

Cathy Crain, JD, Community Director, Parks for Wellness
Barbara Walker, PhD, Integrative Health & Performance Psychologist | Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, UC College of Medicine, Clinical Director, Nature as Medicine Programs
Mladen Golubic, MD, PHD, Center Medical Director
Sian Cotton, PHD, Center Director

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Contact Us

Osher Center for Integrative
Health at UC

Medical Sciences Building Suite 4358
231 Albert Sabin Way
PO Box 670582 
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0582

Mail Location: 0582
Phone: 513-558-2310
Fax: 513-558-3266