Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

17/2/2015

U.S. military medical services have faced unique challenges in recent years. The changing nature of warfare—combined with better field medicine practices—means that many of the men and women returning home from international conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are hurting in new ways. Some have survived combat but have lost limbs. Others suffer from traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. These “unseen” injuries have become extremely important health concerns for veterans and the active duty force. Traditional treatments and therapies haven’t done enough.

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is the world’s largest military medical centre (located on 243 acres, with more than 2.4 million square feet of clinical space) and provides care and services to over one million beneficiaries per year. Winding through the centre of the campus is a wooded ravine. The Green Road is a nature-centred walking route planned to enable military patients and their loved ones to move between on-campus residences and treatment centres.

Within one section of the path, the TKF-sponsored garden will include remembrance and meeting pavilions, a stream bed restoration of Stony Creek, and spaces for quiet discussion and contemplation. Based on feedback from wounded veterans, the space will feature elements of stone, wood, and water to support recovery. Jack Sullivan of the University of Maryland is the project landscape architect. Permit applications are in, and construction will start in 2015.

The project will also enable rigorous research using innovative metrics to assess the impact of the space on veterans’ healing and recovery. The Green Road research team will utilise three measurement approaches: combined biomarkers of the stress response; qualitative analysis of journals and stories using natural language processing; and advanced genomics.

CITYGREEN, January 15, 2015.

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We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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