Although there is increasing awareness of the relationships between ecosystem health, access to and interaction with nature, and human wellness, examples of instructional activities to convey these issues in medical education are limited. To address this need, P.C.S. developed a five week elective course for up to twelve students within a medical humanities curriculum. Students discuss themes covered in multi-media assignments, hike at a regional nature center, and write a final reflection essay. Discussion topics include nature-deficit disorder, nature immersion, nature prescription, creation care, social determinants of nature access and environmental health, and restorative recreation as an avocation. Follow-up surveys containing 4-point Likert questions and open-ended queries to determine student perceptions of the course were conducted for the course over two academic years. Analysis of survey responses show students felt the course met learning objectives and offered a positive and constructive learning environment. Thematic analyses identified the nature hike as a course highlight, and course content, opportunities for reflection, and discussion of how nature relates to human health as notable strengths. The course design should be viewed as adaptive to local ecosystems, environmental concerns, and ethical foundations to improve relevance to students at a given institution.
Swanson, Patrick C.; Taylor, Keirien L.; and Schechter, Thomas J.
"Restorative Recreation: A Medical Humanities Course Relating Nature Prescription, Avocation, and Creation Care to Human and Ecosystem Health,"
Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal: Vol. 12:
2, Article 18.
Available at: https://epublications.regis.edu/jhe/vol12/iss2/18