Kentucky Clinic Wellness Garden Project

Grants and Contracts Details


The cacophony of stressful conversations and beeping monitors melts away as you sink your hands into the soft dirt. Tendrils from hanging plants curl above your head, while sunbeams shine through onto the patio. Gardens are known for their tranquil nature, and there are few places more in need of tranquility than a bustling hospital. They offer students, faculty, and patients alike the chance to reconnect with nature and feel the satisfaction of creating beauty in a sterile, concrete environment. By cultivating a rooftop garden in the Kentucky Clinic of University of Kentucky's hospital, our local branch of GHHS will open the doors to a wealth of health and wellness benefits for budding and experienced medical professionals. The first goal of the project is to develop a space for patients, employees, physicians, and students to have access to nature and benefit from its stress-relieving properties. Exposure to nature has been linked with improved outcomes for hospital patients, and has positive effects on mental health through anxiety reduction and increased relaxation opportunities. With the increasing demands of medical education and potential for burnout among residents, it is imperative to have a dedicated space for stress relief and mindfulness. This garden would not only be used by individuals to experience relaxation, but for meetings and activities that promote wellness in the medical community. Specifically, our mindfulness and compassion elective, The Healer's Art (based on Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen's design), would utilize the garden in their curriculum to engage the medical students, residents, and faculty enrolled in the class. The second goal of the rooftop garden focuses on bringing awareness to food sustainability and nutritional outreach in the local community. In 2014, Kentucky had the 12th highest ranking of adult obesity in the United States, and many areas of the state qualified as food deserts (1). Through the process of developing and implementing the garden, our GHHS chapter will work with Seedleaf, a local community gardening organization, to host community events that focus on teaching the importance of nutrition in maintaining health and preventing many diseases. A 2013 meta-analysis looking at 110 healthcare-based gardens found that communities with access to these gardens had significantly lower rates of obesity, suggesting that the implementation of this rooftop garden can have a large impact on the health of our local community (2). The placement of the garden in our healthcare community furthers the goals of GHHS by serving as a daily reminder that, while medicine is rooted in science and facts, nurturing and compassion lie at the heart of our work. We aim to ensure garden visitors leave feeling less stressed than when they entered. By bringing together people in the garden, we seek to encourage appreciation for not only nature, but also the community and its wellness.
Effective start/end date2/5/165/30/16


  • Arnold P Gold Foundation: $1,500.00


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