Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2021

NRPA Introduces New Resource Aimed at Eliminating Health Inequities

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has released a new resource: Elevating Health Equity Through Parks and Recreation: A Framework for Action. Developed in collaboration with Epic Health Solutions, the interactive framework guides local park and recreation professionals through the process of applying an equity lens to system-wide operations, programs and services.

"NRPA strives for a future where all people have access to and are welcomed into programs, facilities, places and spaces that are parks and recreation," said Autumn Saxton-Ross, Ph.D., vice president of education and chief equity officer at NRPA. "When health inequities are eliminated, the health of individuals—especially Black, Latino, Indigenous and Asian-American people and their communities—improves. Many park and recreation agencies have made progress toward this goal, however, there is still much work to be done to eliminate and prevent health inequities. NRPA is proud to assist park and recreation professionals in their efforts to advance health equity."

The framework is rooted in the following guiding principles on which park and recreation professionals can create more equitable spaces, programs and services to advance community health and well-being:

  • Center Health Equity: When health equity is centered in strategies, initiatives and policies, the full power of parks and recreation will be realized.
  • Parks and Recreation Are a Pathway to Advance Health Equity: When park and recreation professionals leverage their skills, assets and expertise to create just and equitable access to programs, services and activities, they can promote better health outcomes.
  • Reimagine Inclusion: In park settings, the concept of inclusion must go beyond ability and access and should include a focus on who, how and where people are included.
  • Focus on Learning: Committing to this work requires a constant examination of self and systems, connection with individuals who are not like you, and a willingness to share failures and successes.
  • Respect the Environment: Park and recreation professionals and the open green spaces they manage can be catalysts for creating, maintaining and activating spaces that are not only resilient and regenerative, but also celebrations of diversity.

To put the principles into action, the framework is divided into four parts with corresponding learning objectives, worksheets and action items:

  • Self-Assessment: Questions to Challenge Individual Thinking
  • Agency Assessment: Assessing Agency Culture
  • Health Equity Integration: Steps to Center Equity and Change Systems
  • Committing to the Call: Action Planning to Advance Health Equity

To find out more about the framework, visit the NRPA website at

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