Ph.D. student’s healing garden research earns national award

Naomi Sachs

Naomi Sachs

Naomi Sachs, a Ph.D. architecture student at Texas A&M who is developing methods to design and assess healing gardens in healthcare settings, was honored for her work with a New Investigator Research Award from a national healthcare design group.

“The award is designed to encourage new researchers to evaluate how the built environment impacts healthcare outcomes,” said Sheila Bosch, co-chairwoman of The Center for Health Design Research Coalition, which sponsors the award as part of itsmissionto transform healthcare environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education, and advocacy.

As an award recipient, Sachs received funding for her project and to present her research findings at two 2016 gatherings: the national Healthcare Design Conference and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Annual Meeting and Expo.

Sachs is developing the methods because, although gardens have been shown to promote healing, there is no standardized means to evaluate them, she said in a research abstract.

Her project involves two phases: development and pre-testing of the methods at several sites, followed by pilot tests at gardens in healthcare facilities in Texas and four other states.

She will present preliminary work March 27, 2015 in a keynote address at the Horticultural Society of New York’s Healing Nature Forum, an event that will focus on therapeutic gardens effects on patient healing, meditation, contemplation and restoration.

In 2013, Sachs and Claire Cooper Marcus coauthored “Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces,” a comprehensive guide that offers an evidence-based overview of healing gardens and therapeutic landscapes from planning to post-occupancy evaluation.

Sachs is also the founding director of Therapeutic Landscapes Network, which provides information, education, and inspiration about healing gardens, therapeutic landscapes, and other landscapes for health.

posted March 26, 2015