Physicians Rating and Prescribing Parks : The DC Park Prescription Podcast

DC Park Prescription Podcast


(click here to download directly into iTunes)

I’ve done a fireside podcast, a walking podcast, this is my first park podcast. It was recorded at Washington, DC’s Stanton Park and stars Robert Zarr, MD, MPH (@doczarr), our city’s physician champion for rating and prescribing parks.

Keith Montgomery, the Executive Director of the Center for Total Health (@kpotalhealth) and I, made this the topic of this month’s walk with a doc (we walked to Stanton, of course) , and Robert talked us through what Park Prescriptions are, and the actual rating of this park, as well as his thoughts on the connection to total health and what it means for Washington, DC to lead the nation in this work. He says it all beautifully, in my opinion!

I podcasted this one because Robert’s a great speaker and I wished I had recorded our first walk together. I didn’t want to miss out this time.

Keith gave Stanton Park a solid “B” based on the amenities and the athletic activities that he likes to engage in. Keith’s rating is what made me realize this is much much more than doctors telling patients, “Go to a local park.”

What I learned is that park prescriptions are a listening tool, for doctors to learn about the interests of their patients to collaboratively recommend the right activities and spaces.

Park prescriptions are also a listening tool for the community, to get in touch with the green space around them. This prescription is so different than the kind of prescription that involves a physician deciding in their head what type of therapy would be most useful and then sharing it with the patient. This therapy is one where the patient and their family can be involved in deciding what medicine (which park) to choose for themselves and indirectly, for the rest of the community, since the ratings they produce will be used by everyone.

I’ve put together links on the park prescription program and the rating tools. The links are also embedded in the above podcast. Since my life is one big beta test, please excuse a few seconds of buzz here and there on the audio, and little bit of reverb. I have figured out how to filter out traffic noise at least :).

Thanks, Robert, the American Academy of Pediatrics-DC, The National Park Service, and all of the other professionals and community members who have come together to make park prescriptions a listening, learning, and a health improvement tool, the best kind.

We’re opting in and you should, too. Visit a park, rate a park, prescribe a park. Don’t just stop at one, there’s 350 in Washington, DC alone.

Oh, and really quick thank you to Trish Doherty (@trishdoherty) for being inspirational and offering guidance along the way about podcasts. She manages the most excellent Center for Total Health blog, give it a try.

Ted Eytan, MD