battling health inequities by increasing outdoor access

Communities of color throughout the United States experience health inequities as compared to white communities, and Oregon is no different.

Oregon is home to dozens of vibrant and thriving non-white communities. An integral part of the fabric of our communities, cities and state, Oregonians of color also face systemic issues of racism that contribute to inequitable health outcomes. Oregonians of color are at higher risk for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and certain cancers than their white counterparts. The good news is that time spent outdoors can mitigate those risks and help reduce health inequities. Being outside in green space can:

  • lower blood pressure

  • reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

  • lower risk for diabetes and heart disease

Don't just take our word for it: check out what current research is saying about the health benefits of nature.

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project highlight: LatinXplorers

Getting more Latinx Oregonians hiking in the Columbia River Gorge

Cultural, historical, racial, and economic barriers can prevent some communities from having equitable access to outside spaces. Even though public lands belong to all of us, communities of color face unique challenges surrounding outdoor access and equity. But our public lands are diversifying, and we're supporting local nonprofits and service providers to help remove those barriers and get more Oregonians of color enjoying our state's great outdoors.

In Oregon's scenic Columbia River Gorge, we worked with LatinXplorers to start a hiking group for Latinx individuals living in and around Hood River. By arranging transportation to trailheads and providing outdoor guides, LatinXplorers was able to remove barriers to access that prevent people from getting out onto trails. 

For more information check out our program review document, or connect with LatinXplorers online

Yesi Castro of LatinXplorers highlighted in REI video!

Yesenia Castro, one of the leaders of the LatinXplorers project, shared her story with the REI Co=op Journal in this awesome video. Check it out!

Have your own pilot project and need technical support? Contact us to find out how we can help make sure your health and outdoors program is a success!