Health Benefits of Nearby Nature

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Roger Ulrich and Geoffrey Donovan will be presenting the relationship between trees, gardens, nature and public health at “Health Benefits of Nearby Nature” in Portland, Oregon.

On Sept. 12 at Portland State University’s Hoffmann Hall, the lecture will begin at 6 p.m. for registration, networking, educational displays and refreshments. The actual presentation will be from 7 to 9 p.m.

Early registration will be until Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. and is $10. There are no refunds for cancellations.

The registration fee will be $15 the day of the event with cash and checks being accepted at the door.


Roger S. Ulrich is Professor of Architecture at the Center for Healthcare Building Research at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and is adjunct professor of architecture at Aalborg University in Denmark. He is the most frequently cited researcher internationally in evidence-based healthcare design. Among other achievements, his research was the first to document scientifically the stress-reducing and health-related benefits for hospital patients of viewing nature.

In his past role as director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, Ulrich found that nature can help the body heal. In his groundbreaking study, Ulrich investigated the effect that views from windows had on patients recovering from abdominal surgery. He discovered that patients whose hospital rooms provided a view of trees got out of the hospital faster, had fewer complications, and required less pain medication than those who had a view of a brick wall.

Ulrich was co-founding director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, an interdisciplinary center housed jointly in the colleges of Architecture and Medicine. From 2005-2006 he served at the invitation of Britain’s National Health Service as senior adviser on patient care environments for the UK program to create scores of new hospitals.

Geoffrey Donovan, Ph.D. will present results from two recent studies examining the relationship between trees and public health. Humans need green space and trees to survive.

Donovan is a Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service and has quantified a wide range of urban- tree benefits. These have ranged from intuitive benefits— for example, reduced summertime cooling costs— to less intuitive benefits such as crime reduction. More recently, he has focused on the relationship between trees and public health. He found that mothers with trees around their homes are less likely to have underweight babies, and when trees are killed by an invasive pest, more people die from cardiovascular and lower-respiratory disease. He has a number of ongoing projects including a collaboration with the women’s health initiative.

Donovan has a bachelor’s degree from Sheffield University in biochemistry and a doctorate in forest economics from Colorado State University. Since 2001 he has worked as a research forester for the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. His two main research areas are the economics of wildfire and the quantification of the benefits of urban trees.

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