PAHO/WHO and U.S. National Park Service partner to connect people to parks for better health

18 Sep 2015
PAHO/WHO and U.S. National Park Service partner to connect people to parks for better health

 PAHO/WHO and U.S. National Park Service partner to connect people to parks for better health

With the slogan "Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Connecting Health and Nature," the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) have partnered to increase awareness among people of all ages and all walks of life about the benefits of contact with nature for health and wellness.

Washington, D.C., 18 September 2015 — With the slogan "Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Connecting Health and Nature," the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) have partnered to increase awareness among people of all ages and all walks of life about the benefits of contact with nature for health and wellness.

NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne formalized this agreement today with a memorandum of understanding. The signing ceremony took place at PAHO headquarters, after which they took a healthy walk to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. The signing also highlights PAHO's celebration of Wellness Week in the Americas, Sept. 12-19.

Photo: PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne and NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

Photo: PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne and NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis." 2014

Under this new agreement the two organizations committed to collaborate in promoting the health and well-being of people of the Americas through initiatives that support a healthy planet and healthy humanity.

"Human health and well-being depend very much on our connections to the environment, from our need for clean air and safe water to our enjoyment of outdoor activities," said PAHO Director Etienne. "Through this partnership, our two organizations will be better able to raise public awareness of the important connections between health and the environment, and to advocate for policies that protect and promote them."

"We are honored to partner with the Pan American Health Organization, to deliver on key actions that will advance parks as go-to resources for healthy living," said NPS Director Jarvis. "This partnership is a great example of a collaborative action that will advance one of our key goals of connecting people to parks, as we approach our NPS Centennial in 2016."

paho-nps-walkUnder the new agreement, PAHO/WHO and NPS will collaborate on events including World Health Day, the World Parks Congress, Great Outdoors Month, U.S. National Park Week, and the Healthy Parks Healthy People International Congress. They will also share links with each others' networks to facilitate new alliances with organizations throughout the Americas, including national and local governments, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the private sector, youth networks, and other community-based organizations.

In addition, PAHO/WHO and NPS plan to carry out research and evaluation projects and other joint initiatives in areas such as evaluation of health equity, analysis of health indicators, and health risk and impact assessments.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, NPS is joining PAHO/WHO to celebrate Wellness Week in the Americas 2015 with a "Healthy People, Healthy Parks" event at the Sylvan Theater on the U.S. National Mall. Similar activities are being organized in countries throughout the hemisphere as part of Wellness Week, ranging from health fairs to environmental clean-ups and nature walks.

###

About PAHO: Founded in 1902, PAHO is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

Links

Photos from signing event

Wellness Week 2015

Wellness Week in the Americas, Sept 12-19, will focus on "Healthy Parks, Healthy People"

NPS Wellness in a Park Near You

https://twitter.com/opsoms #wellnessweek #healthyparks

Media contacts

From PAHO
Leticia Linn, linnl@paho.org, Tel. + 1 202 974 3440, Mobile +1 202 701 4005, Donna Eberwine-Villagran, eberwind@paho.org, Tel. +1 202 974 3122, Mobile +1 202 316 5469, Sebastián Oliel, oliels@paho.org, Phone +1 202 974 3459, Mobile 202 316 5679, Communication Unit, PAHO/WHO—www.paho.org

From NPS
Linda Friar, linda_friar@nps.gov, Tel. +1 202-208-4988, NPS Communications - www.nps.gov