This essay envisions how geography can operationalize nuanced understandings of space and place to enrich the lives of individuals across the lifespan. We propose a focused integration of geography into person-centered practice: a clinical geography dedicated to working directly with people to promote optimal physical and mental health outcomes and wellbeing. Our proposal integrates spatial modifications to facilitate access and utility, behavioral interventions to maximize effectiveness in using space, and therapeutic engagement to nurture a deeper sense of ‘being in place’ that enhances wellbeing and quality of life. This focus is timely given societal instability and precariousness resulting from incongruous person-environment situations. In addition to investigating, explaining, and critiquing hazardous and inappropriate conditions, geographers might also directly and more immediately intervene with people who find themselves in such situations.
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Dr. Finlay's efforts were supported by the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research Postdoctoral Translational Scholar Program UL1 TR002240-02 and NIH/NIA Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship F32 AG064815-01.
Finlay, Jessica M. and Rowles, Graham D., "Clinical Geography: A Proposal to Embrace Space, Place and Wellbeing through Person-Centered Practice" (2021). Graduate Center for Gerontology Faculty Publications. 8.