Reclaiming Nature

Reclaiming Nature is a project supported by the NIH’s Common Fund’s Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity initiative, a new program supporting highly innovative, translational research projects that aims to prevent, reduce or eliminate health disparities and advance health equity. Through a  transdisciplinary approach, researchers will collaborate with transitional-age Black, Latinx, Pilipinx, and Pacific Islander youth to document their experiences and biologic metrics.

Latest Happenings

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From Hood to Woods: Be a part of our study

Reclaiming Nature, an NIH-funded study, aims to reduce embodied stress through academic-community partnerships to reclaim nature for healing.

SF View from Twin Peaks

Proyektong PAMANA

The PAMANA Project focuses specifically on transitional-age Pilipinx individuals and how green spaces can help to slow the rate of telomere degradation. 

Sofia and Amber

Innovative research investigates the health benefits of reclaiming nature

SF State researchers win NIH funds to study anti-racist healing in nature

Building Community

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The Community Advisory Team (CAT) is made up of young members from the Bay Area community looking to understand and promote health through nature. CAT members give feedback on what they feel best engages and benefits those who join the study. CAT members help us build a community that is trusting and diverse.

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Student Insider Researchers

The Student Insider Researchers (SIRs) is a group of young and talented individuals working on their bachelor's or master's degrees at SFSU. They are involved with all the sectors of the Reclaiming Nature project. Using their cultural wealth and extensive knowledge in research, they recruit and help retain our participants and process biospecimen (hair/saliva) samples for the Hood to Woods project.

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About the Health Equity Research Lab

The HER Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that uses biomedical tools and techniques to address health disparities. The purpose of our lab is to understand how the lived experiences of marginalized communities affect biological mechanisms in the body. Lab members collect and process human biospecimens, such as saliva, blood, and hair, to generate data aimed at discovering how diseases are caused or worsened by social environmental conditions that are disproportionately experienced by underserved communities. The lab is also interested in how interventions may help reduce and prevent disease.


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Articles to read in order to learn more about the benefits of nature.

telomeres at the end of chromosomes

What are Telomeres?

Telomeres are strands of a repeated noncoding DNA sequence at the end of each chromosome. Telomeres protect our chromosomes and conserve the integrity of our DNA. This is important because as cells divide, our telomeres shorten, and they can determine how fast our cells age and when they should die. However, chronic stress can accelerate the shortening of our telomeres and cause our cells to wear down more quickly than usual. Telomere length has been linked to all-cause mortality, depression, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease, and presumed precursors, including air pollution and early life stress.

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Participant Resources

During the study, participants are asked to keep track of their heart rates and weekly steps. The link to upload this information can be found here along with an orientation video and other information such as how to sign up for reminder texts and lab hours where participants can stop by to donate samples or ask questions.