New grants program to help create healing environments in hospitals through art

Washington, DC -- In response to the public's demand for more compassionate care in the art of medicine, hospitals and other healthcare providers nationwide have been creating new ways to enhance the healing process through the arts. Recognizing that music, paintings, poetry, and dance can touch the spirit and give respite to patients, families, and staff, the arts in healthcare movement has taken root all across the US during the past twenty years.

The National Endowment for the Arts is aiding this effort by designating a $50,000 Leadership Initiative grant to establish professional arts programs inside healthcare institutions. The grant was awarded to the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, a national service organization founded in 1990 to encourage the incorporation of the arts into healthcare environments of all kinds, from hospitals and hospices to nursing homes and public health programs.

The Society's 550 members include arts administrators, artists, therapists, doctors, nurses, medical students, designers, architects, and patrons, most in the United States but some in Canada, Great Britain, Europe, and Japan.

"The arts are but one of many arrows in a doctor's quiver. They can be used effectively to support the process of healing, enhance communication, improve patient satisfaction, and build community," says Naj Wikoff, Program Director of Healing and the Arts at the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth College and President of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare. "They can uplift the spirits of patients and provide them a respite from pain, enhance doctor patient relations, and communicate health information."

In the first phase of the new NEA-funded training and consultation initiative, the Society is collaborating with Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to develop an advanced leadership training program for selected arts-in-healthcare specialists. The training will take place at the Universit

Contact: Suzy Brenner
University of Michigan Health System

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