Home / Degree Programs / Academic Units / Doctor of Behavioral Health / News / Dr. O’Donnell promotes Green Health initiatives in China

Dr. O’Donnell promotes Green Health initiatives in China

Professor Ron O’Donnell, Ph.D., in the College of Health Solutions Doctor of Behavioral Health program made a presentation “Green Health for Primary Care Providers: Motivating Patients for Lifestyle Behavior Change” at the International Conference on Green Health and Care Systems sponsored by the National Health Development Research Center (NHDRC) in Beijing, China. The conference was attended by representatives from China, the U.S., and Europe with a focus on initiatives to improve health through Green Health programs to reduce air and water pollution, conserve energy, and improve the health of the population. Dr. O’Donnell reviewed the research demonstrating that individuals in urban areas who spend more time in Green spaces (e.g., parks, gardens) have better physical and mental health, greater physical activity and more social contacts than those who spend less time. Dr. O’Donnell proposed that primary care physicians can take advantage of these findings by prescribing patients with chronic, noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes to engage in healthy behaviors in green spaces. Green space activities include physical activity, meditation, and social activities. In effect, exposure to green spaces should be considered a modifiable lifestyle behavior such as nutrition and physical activity, and prescribed by the primary care physician. Dr. O’Donnell is working on a green health proposal for the NHDRC along with Professor Yongsheng Zhang, Ph.D., an adjunct faculty in the ASU School of Sustainability and Deputy Director General at the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council of P.R. China. Dr. O’Donnell plans to develop a green health program as a component of a larger green development model led by Dr. Zhang and others with a pilot program is a rural city in China.