CSPH 5000 - Nature Rx: People, Plants, and Planetary Health

This course is offered completely online.

Course Description

The body of scientific evidence demonstrating the ways in which nature connection impacts human health and wellbeing is expanding across disciplines at a rapid rate. This course will introduce students to research related to ways in which nature experiences replenishes the body (physical and mental), improves the mind (concentration, creativity, mood) and restores the spirit (decreases stress and anxiety). This course will focus on potential causal mechanisms underlying these effects, and using the Planetary Health Framework to explicitly consider self care, community-based decision-making (centering on health inequities), and to inspire reciprocity for a thriving world. 

When you think of Rx you may know it as the symbol for a medical prescription. However, the symbol is derived from the Latin word recipe or “recipere”.  For this course, Nature Rx means a set of nature-based instructions from various ingredients (Planet, Place, Partners, People, Practice) found in the following methods: 

  • discuss the latest science on how nature can improve human health and wellbeing
  • discover traditional practices that draw on nature for self care
  • learn how access and engagement to nature are essential to health equity
  • explore creative ways of connecting with nature 
  • gather credible, empirical data in support of building a healthy self, community, planet
  • apply new knowledge of nature as a source of healing in personal, professional and/or academics

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the enhanced quality of life and health benefits of nature as a health intervention.
  • Identify principles and theoretical framework of Planetary Health
  • Analyze the cross-sectional research in nature as a health intervention.
  • Discuss the current evidence related to health promotion and natural environment, cultural engagement, housing, social networks, and work and employment patterns.
  • Identify techniques of nature as intervention specific to community-based organizations, schools, social and healthcare, and work.
  • Examine the inequity and nature/green space as untapped potential for improving public health through engagement in health promoting nature and cultural activities.
  • Apply concepts and practices of nature interventions to a specific user groups

Course Details

Course Format: 
Course ID: 
CSPH 5000
Semesters Course Offered: