building healthy communities by getting oregonians outdoors.
We know that time outdoors can improve health, but not everyone has access to safe, welcoming natural places. Rural communities, communities of color, low-income communities, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups face barriers to spending time in the outdoors and are also more likely to experience health disparities than white, middle- and high-income people.
Our mission as the Oregon Health and Outdoors Initiative is to improve health and the environment for all Oregonians by increasing access to and engagement with nature among communities experiencing inequities.
We're working to achieve our vision of an Oregon where all people feel a deep connection with the outdoors, resulting in better health, stronger communities, and flourishing natural places. We do this by offering resources, tools, and technical support to health and outdoor providers and program leaders who are helping bridge the gap between nature and well-being. Our work is guided by equity, collaboration, learning, stewardship, and listening.
Check out the links below to see the work we're doing to help improve health equity outcomes in Oregon:
The Oregon Health and Outdoors Initiative has worked with a variety of community partners and nonprofits across the State of Oregon to reduce health inequities through increased outdoor access. Focusing on our target populations of communities of color, low-income communities, rural communities, and Oregonians with disabilities, we've been able to empower local communities to take health outside. Read more about what we're doing across the state:
featured pilot: Adaptive sports northwest
Making the outdoors accessible for Oregonians with disabilities.
For people with mobility disabilities, accessing the outdoors is often limited to the built environment. How can the outdoors be made accessible so that all Oregonians can enjoy the health benefits of being outdoors?
Adaptive Sports Northwest in Portland is bringing nature a little closer to people with physical disabilities. We partnered with them to help launch a cycling group in North Portland at the Portland International Raceway. Hand cycling at the Raceway is a great way to get outside, be with people, and get active. Benefits for participants included decreased risk of heart disease, improvement in mental health, and increased social cohesion through the bonds formed in the group.