Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) Center

University of New Hampshire in the College of Health and Human Services


Established in 2015 with the mission to advance the field of adventure therapy and outdoor behavioral healthcare through the development of best practices, effective treatments, and evidenced-based research.

The OBH Center is an evolution of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative (OBHRC). OBHRC research began in 1999 under the direction of Dr. Keith Russell with a major study of four wilderness therapy programs and over the years grew to include seven active research scientists, over 200 research studies, and collaboration on several studies and publications.

Under the leadership of its Director, Dr. Michael Gass and Associate Director, Dr. Anita R. Tucker, the OBH Center aims to continue to build upon these efforts through the promotion of research, accreditation and risk management in OBH and adventure therapy programs.

Ultimately, the OBH Center’s vision is to have affordable, evidenced-based Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare available for clients to the point there is a significant decrease in the overall rate of mental health and substance abuse issues in our society by 2025.

For information about the research mentioned in the video above, please visit this article on ScienceDirect

OBH Center Transport Task Force

Guided by our belief in the importance of client voice and client choice, the OBH Center lead by Dr. Christine Norton and Dr. Michael Gass came together with a collaborative group of stakeholders (parents, clients who have been transported, program staff, clinicians, transport professionals and researchers) to explore transport in wilderness programs and make recommendations for best practices.

Click Here for a copy of the OBH Center Task Force's Report

Ethics Statement

Transparency, objectivity, and trust are critical features of all practices of the OBH Center. All of the research produced by the OBH Center is reviewed by the Institutional Review Board of the University of New Hampshire for ethical and accurate research practices before any studies ever begin. All research practices conducted by the Center follow not only the guidelines of this Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the University of New Hampshire, but also the Missenden Code of ethics and accountability (2002) for appropriate ethical practices by university research entities. Research conducted by the OBH Center seeks to:

  • address universal problems resulting in benefits for society as a whole
  • be objective in the design and implementation of research activities and take an unbiased position in reporting results
  • conduct all operations openly, honestly, objectively, and responsibly
  • disclose to all colleagues and the public any financial or personal interests so that audiences are fully informed.
  • be independent in the research and publication of any informed findings and publications

The Center receives its funding from the University of New Hampshire, federal and state funding, the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBHC), the National Association for Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), and foundations (e.g., the Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore). The non UNH research scientists of the OBH Center are independent of all funding entities, and these entities have no involvement in the selection of research topics, how research is conducted, where research is published, and the findings and interpretations of these research projects. For more information, see: https://www.unh.edu/undergrad-research/ethical-and-responsible-conduct-research-training