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Prescri-Nature, an evidence based nature prescription program, is officially launched today in Québec with the support of organizations representing more than 45,000 health care professionals of the province. Prescri-Nature stems from the national PaRx initiative, which was rolled out in November 2020 by the BC Parks Foundation, first in British Columbia, then in Ontario in February 2021 and in several other provinces since. It recognizes that physicians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, nurses and other health professionals have an active role to play in promoting healthy living, including promoting regular contact with nature.
Born from a collaboration between various health professionals, including physicians and pharmacists, Prescri-Nature is evidence-based to encourage people to take advantage of the physical and psychological health benefits of nature exposure through written prescriptions. The Quebec Prescri-Nature Collective is made up of six health professionals: Dr. Isabelle Bradette, Dr. Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers, Dr. Caroline Laberge, Dr. Sarah Bergeron, Emmett Phil Coriat and Dr. Johanne Elsener MV.
"The health benefits of exposure to nature are so numerous! For example, within minutes, blood levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, decrease, as do heart rate and blood pressure. Exposure to nature also improves symptoms of depression and can lead to cognitive restoration. Prescribing nature can be part of every health professional's arsenal," shares Dr. Isabelle Bradette, a physician at the Jonquière Emergency Room and assistant professor at the University of Sherbrooke's Faculty of Medicine's Medical Education Program in Saguenay.
Any licensed health professional can prescribe via the Prescri-Nature web platform. Each person who registers online receives a personalized nature prescription record with a unique provider code and tips on how to prescribe nature to their patients. With practical, evidence-based online resources such as quick prescribing tips, printable fact sheets and a resource directory, Prescri-Nature aims to make nature prescribing easy and effective for both prescribers and patients.
"Prescri-Nature is a tool, yes for health professionals, but also for patients who want to learn more about the many health benefits of exposure to nature. It is a platform rich in information with a simple objective, applicable to all: two hours per week, at least 20 minutes at a time," says Dr. Caroline Laberge, family physician and president of the Quebec College of Family Physicians (CQMF).
All health professionals registered with Prescri-Nature will be able to prescribe Parks Canada Discovery Passes to their adult patients through a partnership with Parks Canada. These professionals are encouraged to make judicious and targeted use of the cards with their clients. Each health professional registered with Prescri-Nature will be able to prescribe up to one adult pass per month.
With the arrival of spring in Quebec, it is an ideal time for health professionals to promote the benefits of nature on overall health to their clientele but also for their own health. This is why Prescri-Nature will offer two free 90-minute guided distance sessions to health professionals who register on the site.
"Enormous strides have been made by science to understand the mechanisms of action of nature on our health. There is now scientific evidence that the beneficial effects of nature are fueled by multiple sensory stimuli, resulting from a conscious interaction with natural environments. The impacts could be very positive for the entire population, regardless of their level of fitness", shares Emmett Phil Coriat, pharmacist specialized in technological innovation in health and guide-practitioner in sylvotherapy.
Prescri-Nature is supported by a large number of partners in the health field, including the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ), the faculties of medicine of the Université de Montréal, the Université de Sherbrooke and the Université Laval, the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ), the Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec (OPPQ), the Fédération des kinésiologues du Québec (FKQ) and the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ). The complete list of collaborators is available here.
Dr. Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers, a family physician at the CLSC de Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and president of the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME), adds: "As we face the climate emergency, we must do more for human health. Prescri-nature fits perfectly into this context. It is thus essential that everyone, including those living in cities and especially in socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, have access to high-quality and biodiverse natural spaces near their homes. Being able to enjoy the benefits of exposure to nature must be within everyone's reach, from the youngest to the wisest! "
Finally, Prescri-Nature invites you to a launch walk that will be held at the Aquarium du Québec on Saturday, May 21 from 8:30 am to 9:45 am with the participation of Dr. Isabelle Goupil-Sormany, medical advisor to the INSPQ and professor at Laval University. Details of this free walk organized by Ça marche Doc! can be found here. Participants will have a chance to win an annual pass to the Aquarium du Québec and a 2-night stay in a SÉPAQ park for 6 people.
Visit the Prescri-Nature website here: prescri-nature.ca
Dre Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers / Prescri-Nature Collective
The six members of the Collective, located in five different regions of the province of Québec (Montréal, Québec, Bas-St-Laurent, Estrie,, Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean), are all available for interviews.