Health Benefits of Nearby Nature
Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 7:00pm to Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 9:00pm

Health Benefits of Nearby Nature

Dr. Roger Ulrich and Dr. Geoffrey Donovan present on the relationship between trees, gardens, nature and public health: Trees and well-designed nature settings are part of our public health infrastructure!

Sponsored by: Friends of Trees, Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Counseling, Legacy Health, PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions, TKF Foundation, ZGF Architects LLP


Thursday, September 12, 2013, at Portland State University’s Hoffman Hall (1833 SW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97201). Doors open at 6 pm for registration, networking, educational displays and refreshments. Presentation 7 pm – 9 pm.


$10 for early registration until Sept 5, 5 pm.


$15 day of event. Cash or check accepted at the door. Sorry, no debit/credit.

6:00 pm Doors Open. Registration, Networking, Educational Displays and Refreshments

7:00 pm Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D. and Geoffrey Donovan, Ph.D. Lecture, Dialogue between the Experts, and Questions from the Audience


Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D. Nature heals the human body.

Roger S. Ulrich is Professor of Architecture at the Center for Healthcare Building Research at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and is adjunct professor of architecture at Aalborg University in Denmark. He is the most frequently cited researcher internationally in evidence-based healthcare design. Among other achievements, his research was the first to document scientifically the stress-reducing and health-related benefits for hospital patients of viewing nature.

In his past role as director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, Dr. Ulrich found that nature can help the body heal. In his groundbreaking study, Dr. Ulrich investigated the effect that views from windows had on patients recovering from abdominal surgery. He discovered that patients whose hospital rooms provided a view of trees got out of the hospital faster, had fewer complications, and required less pain medication than those who had a view of a brick wall.Like other researchers, Dr. Ulrich has found that simply viewing representations of nature can help. For example, he found that heart surgery patients in intensive care units at a Swedish hospital could reduce their anxiety and need for pain medication by looking at pictures depicting nature of trees and water.

Dr. Ulrich’s work has received many awards, directly impacted the design of billions of dollars of hospital construction, and improved the health outcomes and safety of patients around the world. His work has influenced internationally the architecture and interior design of scores of major hospitals. Further, Dr. Ulrich has developed a Theory of Evidence-Based Design that has become influential as a scientifically grounded and “user friendly” guide for creating successful healthcare facilities. His recent work has dealt with subjects as varied as the effects of single- versus multi-bed patient rooms on infection transmission, the negative impacts of hospital noise on patients and nurses, and how nature, gardens, and art can lessen pain, stress, and healthcare costs.

Dr. Ulrich was co-founding director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, an interdisciplinary center housed jointly in the colleges of Architecture and Medicine. From 2005-2006 he served at the invitation of Britain’s National Health Service as senior adviser on patient care environments for the UK program to create scores of new hospitals.

Dr. Ulrich has published widely in both scientific and design journals, and his research has received international scientific recognition. He has worked extensively in Scandinavia, especially Sweden, where he has carried out research at Lund Institute of Technology, Uppsala University, and the Karolinska Institute of Medicine. He has also been Visiting Research Professor in Healthcare Architecture at the University of Florence, Italy and served as Invitation Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He also serves as advisor on evidence–based healthcare design for the British National Health Services. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Center for Health Design, California, and serves as co-chair of its national Research Committee.

Geoffrey Donovan, Ph.D. Trees don’t make our cities livable, they make them survivable.

Geoffrey Donovan, Ph.D. will present results from two recent studies examining the relationship between trees and public health. Humans need green space and trees to survive.

Dr. Donovan is a Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service and has quantified a wide range of urban- tree benefits. These have ranged from intuitive benefits— for example, reduced summertime cooling costs— to less intuitive benefits such as crime reduction. More recently, he has focused on the relationship between trees and public health. He found that mothers with trees around their homes are less likely to have underweight babies, and when trees are killed by an invasive pest, more people die from cardiovascular and lower-respiratory disease. He has a number of ongoing projects including a collaboration with the women’s health initiative.

Dr. Donovan has a bachelor’s degree from Sheffield University in biochemistry and a doctorate in forest economics from Colorado State University. Since 2001 he has worked as a research forester for the USDA


Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. His two main research areas are the economics of wildfire and the quantification of the benefits of urban trees.