Inova Mount Vernon Hospital Wins First Prize from the National Garden Bureau’s 2021 Therapeutic Garden Grant

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital’s therapeutic recreation team won a $3,000 grant to continue building the horticultural therapy program at the hospital. L to R: Ginger Myers, PT; Jan Lane, HTR; Paula Berntsen, CTRS; Ted Denning, CTRS; and Maria Bruce, CTRS.

Alexandria, VA — After receiving thousands of votes from the public, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital is proud to announce our therapeutic recreation team has won first place in this year’s National Garden Bureau (NGB) Therapeutic Garden Grant. In addition to a variety of tools and supplies, the team will receive $3,000 towards improving the horticulture therapy program.

Each year, the NGB selects three therapeutic garden programs as recipients of a grant to help expand or perpetuate their therapeutic garden. These programs then compete for a first, second and third-place prize. In early September, a 60-second video describing Inova Mount Vernon Hospital’s horticultural therapy program was posted to the NGB website, along with those of two other finalists. The public was asked to vote for the most deserving garden through Friday, Sept. 24.

“We are thrilled to have won NGB’s Therapeutic Garden Grant,” said Paula Berntsen, CTRS, recreational therapist at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. “This grant will go a long way toward helping us procure the equipment and supplies we need to grow our horticultural program to not only improve our outdoor garden space, but also enhance the special rehabilitative care we provide our patients.”

The Therapeutic Garden Grant is a philanthropic program of NGB dedicated to supporting therapeutic gardens across North America. Inova Mount Vernon Hospital’s horticultural therapy program is one of only a few programs in the Northern Virginia region.

“Horticultural therapy is a unique program within our renowned inpatient rehabilitation center,” said Roberta Tinch, MHA, FACHE, President of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital and Administrator of Inova’s musculoskeletal services. “Over the years, the program has evolved from a small raised bed to a large therapeutic pavilion, where multidisciplinary teams of therapists use gardening tasks to work on individual patient goals. It is just one of the many programs we offer our rehabilitation patients to help them regain the skills needed to return to their fullest lives.”

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital’s horticultural therapy program started in June 2019 as part of the therapeutic recreation department and in partnership with Jan Lane, HTR, of GardenLane, LLC. Horticultural therapy is a weekly, year-round program that centers on the ways in which plants and nature relate to a patient’s experience in rehabilitation and healing.

“Horticultural therapy offers patients a number of benefits including improved memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills and socialization. It can also help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance and endurance,” Lane said. “It is a joy to see patients get such a sense of accomplishment as they work to complete a project and make progress toward their therapeutic goals as well.”

To watch the winning video, visit the National Garden Bureau’s first-place recipient webpage.

Media contact: Tracy Connell,


About Inova                           

Inova is Northern Virginia’s leading nonprofit healthcare provider. Our mission is to provide world-class healthcare – every time, every touch – to each person in every community we have the privilege to serve. Inova’s 18,000 team members serve more than 2 million individuals annually through an integrated network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, emergency and urgent care centers, outpatient services and destination institutes.  

Inova’s five hospitals are consistently recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals and Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades for excellence in healthcare.

Inova is home to Northern Virginia’s only Level 1 Trauma Center and Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Its hospitals have a total of 1,936 licensed beds. More information and statistics about Inova can be found at

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