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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.
Research 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
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.
Donate Now to Support Parks for Wellness to Transform Healthcare in Cincinnati
Bearcats Pantry - Community Resource Garden
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cathy has a master's degree in environmental studies, a J.D., an M.S. in Gerontology, a degree in Sustainable Horticulture, and a certification in Forest Therapy. Although not practicing, she was a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. She served as an investment counselor for 21 years, spending 14 years in National City's trust department in Cleveland. She moved to Scudder Stevens & Clark's Cincinnati office to serve as the vice president and co-chairman of the firm's socially responsive investing division. She has served on numerous boards including as Chairman of Talbert House, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Parks Foundation, and Cincinnati State. She also served as a Parks Commissioner and is on the executive board of the Council on Aging. But her favorite board is the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical, where she founded the board committee representing the Botanical Garden. And it sits on a Park property which is doubly sweet! She serves on the Osher Center Community Advisory Councilwhere her current work is with the Osher Center and the Cincinnati Parks to create a'Parks for Wellness' collaboration that will change health outcomes through evidence-based activities through the incorporation of Nature into a patient's routine.
Barbara Walker, Ph.D.
Integrative Health and Performance Psychologist
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, College of Medicine
Associate Adjunct Professor Department of Psychology
Clinical Director, Parks for Wellness
Affiliated Faculty, Osher Center for Integrative Health and Wellness
Diplomate, American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Dr. Walker currently serves as an Integrative Health and Performance Psychologist within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health, where she provides consultations to a wide variety of patients to facilitate their optimal effectiveness, whether for performance in sport or within their career, coping with illness or injury, and/or a desire to improve areas associated with lifestyle for overall health and well-being. She specializes in the use of biofeedback, mind-body techniques, high performance strategies, and lifestyle medicine as tools for teaching self-regulation. Barbara also teaches Sport and Positive Psychology as an associate adjunct professor in the Psychology Department, as well as Nature-Based Therapies and Ecopsychology, and co-teaches The Science and Practice of Mind-Body Medicine within the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Walker earned her master’s degree in health psychology, her doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in exercise and sport psychology and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Barbara has consulted with multiple professional and university athletic teams and individuals, Fortune 100 and 500 companies and their executives, physicians, and first responders. Barbara is a regular presenter at local and national professional conferences and workshops, has authored multiple chapters in professional texts, and is a regular contributor to national periodicals. She has appeared as a guest expert on multiple radio and television programs. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association of Applied Sport Psychology, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, as well as a member of the sport psychology registry with the United States Olympic Committee. Barbara demonstrates a lifelong passion for peak performance principles applying them in her own professional and personal life as a former competitive athlete in the sports of marathon, triathlon, duathlon, and cycling. She now mindfully trains for life- currently cycling, hiking, practicing yoga, organic gardening and spending time with family, friends, being outside as much as she can!
Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD, has worked in the fields of immunogenetics and molecular and cancer biology, contributing to the understanding of interactions between the environment and our genes. His clinical work focuses now on lifestyle-related chronic diseases.
As an internist, Dr. Golubic has practiced and directed educational and research activities within integrative and lifestyle medicine since 2009 with a group of exceptional lifestyle medicine professionals (dietitians, chefs, yoga instructors, exercise physiologists, meditation teachers, etc.) within the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
Outside of the health system, he enjoys time with his family and spending time outdoors.
Director, Osher Center for Integrative Health | Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, UC College of Medicine
Dr. Cotton is a licensed clinical psychologist and founding director of the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and UC Health Integrative Medicine. A Professor in the Departments of Family and Community Medicine and Pediatrics, Dr. Cotton has an active research lab with ongoing clinical studies focusing primarily on mindfulness-based interventions and integrative medicine practice-based research. In 2007, Dr. Cotton was awarded a K23 career development award by the National Institutes of Health to examine the role of spiritual coping and health-related quality of life in adolescents with a chronic illness. A former Board member for the Academic Consortium of Integrative Medicine and Health, she is often invited to speak with community organizations and businesses, healthcare audiences, and academics about mind-body medicine for stress reduction, and preventive and wellness-based approaches to healthcare.
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