At Community Health Centers, innovative approaches to care often start beyond the walls of the exam room. At Unity Health Care, Inc., in Washington, D.C., for instance, one pediatrician is on a mission to prescribe nature. Pediatrician Robert Zarr, MD, MPH, FAAP, has always understood that illness prevention and whole body health begins with empowering patients to adopt healthy habits, such as good nutrition and spending time outside. Yet, prescribing nature for low-income children and adults at risk for obesity and diabetes, among many other chronic diseases, is not an easy task. The challenges included finding safe, clean, and accessible parks that can be easily identified in and around the urban Nation’s Capital. Since 2010, Zarr has been collaborating closely with the National Park Service, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the Institute at the Golden Gate, among many others, to create a rapidly growing National ParkRx Initiative. You can read more in depth about Dr. Zarr and his work on NACHC story site. We are using the site to document how health centers are defying conventional medicine with new and cutting edge ways foster wellness in their patient populations.
If your health center is doing something innovative with patient care, let us know and we’ll help you tell that story. Make sure to follow the #CHCsInnovate hashtag on Twitter to learn more about health center innovation.