HealthParks & Public Spaces
The concept of a HealthPark and Wellness Center is simple: provide residents with a one-stop shop "neighborhood wellness hubs" for all their basic preventive health needs. We want to make it easy for residents to access all the things they need for good health. Parks and public spaces provide a way to naturally instill a culture of health into the community. They are free, always open, and have few barriers for residents. It is the one place in society where people are not limited by their income. Everyone is welcome. It just makes sense to build a culture of primary preventive health through these spaces.
The overall design of a HealthPark is based on several best practices in placemaking, as well as the four strategic directions of the National Prevention Strategy: (1) Healthy and Safe Community Environments, (2) Clinical and Community Preventive Services, (3) Empowered People, and (4) Elimination of Health Disparities. These strategies are then broken into various programs and services in the HealthPark and Wellness Center with programs and services for Detroiters of every age:
- Healthy Living: various health screenings, immunizations, HIV testing, depression/mental health screening, vision/dental/hearing screening, informal physician discussions, health support groups and classes, and more.
- Exercise and Fitness: outdoor/indoor fitness equipment and programming, aerobics, yoga, zumba, pilates, walking/running groups and programs, cycling groups and programs, and more.
- Sports and Athletics: athletic leagues and programs, youth camps, and more.
- Healthy Eating: farmer's market, healthy meals programs, cooking/eating demonstrations, healthy eating/nutrition classes, food entrepreneur programs, and more.
- Healthy Minds: community conversations on mental health, mental health first aid, support groups, and more.
- Social Determinants: resources for employment, transportation, financial assistance, housing, and more.
It is important for people to enter the health care system at birth, not after they get sick, and so we need to create a welcoming environment that encourages this. While the traditional American health care system typically includes only the places you go after getting sick (i.e. doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals), we hope that HealthParks provide an opportunity to expand our health care system to include the places you need to prevent that sickness.
Our pilot HealthPark location is our very own Samaritan Center, located on Detroit's Eastside at 5555 Conner St., Detroit, MI.