Keynote speakers

Matilda van den Bosch

Matilda is a doctor in medicine as well as in landscape planning and public health.

Since July 2016 she is an assistant professor at The University of British Columbia, Canada, where she holds a shared affiliation between the School of Population and Public Health and the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences.

She investigates how environmental exposures, for example urban green spaces, can influence human health and how this displays in various populations across various socioeconomic conditions. The policy goal is to develop evidence-based plans for healthier cities in a changing climate, with sustainable solutions for the health of humans and natural environments.

Her interests include regulating urban ecosystem services, such as heat reduction and consequential reduction in heat related morbidity and mortality, as well as cultural services form urban nature, involving for example increased physical activity and stress recovery with regards to preventing several non-communicable diseases. Much of the research focuses on linkages between various types of land-use data and health mediators or outcomes.

Matilda works for numerous health and environment related international organizations, for example the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environmental Program (UNEP), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Climate Change and Innovation Bureau Health Canada. She is Associate Editor of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening and first editor of the Oxford University Press textbook on Nature and Public Health, published in January 2018.

Ulf Hallgårde

Ulf Hallgårde MD, started his career as a ENT-surgeon but was appointed by the board of Region Skåne to lead a project to reduce sick leave in a 1.5 million population in Skåne by new means of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. A twelvefold increase of cognitive behavior therapists gave a significant reduction of new cases of stress induced sick leave. In cooperation with the SLU Alnarp and the rehabilitation garden, new concepts of nature assisted rehabilitation was developed for patients with burnout symptoms.   This led to several contracts with peri urban businesses who provide a special program in cooperation with local healthcare providers. He is now working with developing nature assisted concepts of treatment for new groups like refugees from Syria and young people with unclear psychiatric conditions.


Bente Berget

Bente was educated at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences where she finished her Ph.D. in 2006. The aim of her thesis was to measure effects on self-efficacy and symptoms of anxiety and depression for persons with psychiatric disorders working with farm animals. Berget has been involved in several projects with animal-assisted interventions for adults with psychiatric disorders in the scope of Green care. In addition to research, she has been teaching green care and animal assisted interventions for students at the different universities both nationally and internationally as well as farmers and health professionals. She has also been a speaker at several national and international conferences. She is a member of a Nordic network for researchers in the scope og Green Care and nature-based interventions. She is senior scientist at Agder Research and Associated Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Agder.

Matthew J. Wichrowski

Matthew J. Wichrowski has been a practicing horticultural therapy at Rusk Rehabilitation NYU-Langone Medical Center for over 20 years and is currently Clinical Assistant Professor. He teaches in the Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program at New York Botanical Garden, presents regularly at national and international conferences, and has won many awards for his work. Matt is also Editor-in-Chief of the AHTA’s Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. His research interests center around the effects of nature on human health and wellness and his work has been published in a variety of media, including textbooks, journals, and magazines.

John R. Corcoran

Dr. John R. Corcoran graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude with a double degree in Psychology (BA) and Physical Therapy (BS) from the University at Buffalo.  He also completed student affiliation work at the Rusk Institute as part of his physical therapy degree.  Dr. Corcoran later graduated from Long Island University Health Science Center with a degree in Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy (MS) and won the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. During this time he also worked as Robert      De Niro’s technical consultant on a movie in which Mr. De Niro’s character has a stroke (Flawless, MGM).  In 2006, he received a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (DPT) from Long Island University Health Sciences Center and won the Division of Physical Therapy Academic Excellence Award. 

Dr. Corcoran has worked at New York University Langone Health - Rusk Rehabilitation in a variety of roles including the Director of Inpatient Therapy Services and is currently the Site Director for Rehabilitation Therapy Services at the Main Campus. 

Dr. Corcoran is a CARF Medical Rehabilitation Surveyor and surveys rehabilitation hospitals both nationally and internationally (2007-present).  He is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, NYU School of Medicine and specializes in rehabilitation and pain management (2008-present). In addition, he has a faculty appointment with the American Physical Therapy Association (2015-present).

Dr. Corcoran won two awards at the NYU Langone Health Annual Quality and Safety Day (2015) for his work on Early Mobilization (lead author of the team award) and the Children’s Hospital Safety Network Fall Prevention Program (team award).  In 2016, he became a reviewer for the Journal of Applied Health and also a certified Green Belt – Lean Six Sigma.