Park Commission Discusses Park Program To Help Residents Well-Being

Park Commission Discusses Park Program To Help Residents Well-Being

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township parks are currently listed through a database at www.parkrxamerica.org, a non-profit organization designed to benefit people's overall well-being, by allowing doctors to prescribe parks to patients.

There have been health benefits associated with people spending time in parks and in nature such as: being more physically active, lower levels of anxiety, depression and stress as well as lower levels of negative thinking.

29 million Americans suffer from diabetes and are at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation.

In the past year, 15.7 million adults also reported having at least one major depressive episode.

At the January 14th Meridian Township Park Commission Meeting, members discussed the Park Rx Program and whether or not they should move forward with being involved in the program.

While Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Director, LuAnn Maisner, strongly supported this program as it has helped residents improve their well-being, Vice-Chair Amanda A. Lick had some concerns about the program in terms of electronic information being collected and leading to potential privacy issues.

"There's nothing in the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that protects us from anything related to HIPAA or data sharing, and I just want to make sure that we are having legal take a look at that."

"If that can be traced back in any way to us, you know, I just want to make sure we're covered."

Commissioner Lick would also appreciate how frequently the data is being utilized in local communities such as Meridian Township and whether it leads to more residents going to local parks.

Upon hearing this information, members further discussed the benefits and risks associated with data sharing in this program and decided to table this issue and seek clarification before moving forward.

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