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National Organization for Arts in Health Conference: Texas| USA

Updated: Apr 2


Blog post written by Katrina Pineda (AHECRN California Representative)

The National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH) recently held its second annual conference (07/10/18 – 10/10/18), as part of the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo in Austin, Texas. NOAH is the professional, United States organisation that exists to “serve and advance the field of arts in health”. The conference brought together professionals from a range of fields, gathering to discuss progress in the field of arts in health over the course of four days. This included researchers, public health officials, policy makers, healthcare professionals, artists from an array of disciplines, organisational representatives, and many other leaders in the field. Pre-conference workshops included a session discussing the NOAH Arts in Healthcare Management Handbook (led by Patricia Lambert) and a working group initiative for arts in community health: “Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America” (led by University of Florida and ArtPlace). The next three days were filled with inspiring program models, research, networking, and a variety of other resources and initiatives. For a complete list of the sessions, please see the NOAH track of the conference schedule. Interdisciplinary Collaboration & Program Models

Interdisciplinary collaboration was a topic of discussion during multiple sessions this year. Several presenters discussed the importance of looking at arts in health from a variety of perspectives and working together with a variety of specialists to achieve a successful, comprehensive program or study. Public health officials, artists, administrators, nurses, medical professionals, policy makers, doctors (of varying specialities), and researchers should all be part of the broad discussion on arts in health. It is important to consider all potential stakeholders and the range of fields to which arts in health may impact. There were various arts in health programs that presented at the conference this year, many of which were great examples of this. For example, Central Florida Community Arts continuously makes an effort to integrate arts into organisations that already understand the population. Their Musical Minds Choir is comprised of people who have some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s and their care partners. Joshua Vickey discussed how they collaborated with eight different Alzheimer’s and dementia organisations in order to launch this program. Another demonstration of interdisciplinary collaboration was seen during a session on arts in community health called, “Community-Engaged Approaches to Evidence Synthesis: A Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration”. Steven Boudreau, Sherilyn Brown, and Stacy Springs discussed the importance of collaboration between artists, public health professionals, and policy-making officials. Brown emphasized that artists need to understand what is important to public health and policy-making officials, and public health professionals and policy-making officials need to understand the power of the arts. Research

The conference had an even stronger research presence than last year. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) shared a printed copy of their resource specific to conducting research in the realm of arts and health: NEA Guide to Community-Engaged Research in the Arts and Health. There were also many more sessions focusing on research currently being done in the field. For example the University of Florida shared multiple research efforts. One was a national initiative for arts in community health that they are doing in collaboration with ArtPlace America: “Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America”. They held a pre-conference working group with artists, public health professionals, policy making officials, educators, program administrators, and a variety of other people involved at the intersection of arts and public health. Program models, opportunities, and challenges were discussed. This two-year initiative aims to “build intersections and establish resources for practitioners” through hosting additional working groups and analysing the data gathered. Researchers from the University of Florida also shared two research initiatives under development. The first was a double-blind, randomised control trial on the impact of live music (determined by patient preferences) in the context of an emergency room setting. The second was an effort to map all of the arts in health programs available in the state of Florida. Jill Sonke, Max Helgemo, and Dr. Virginia Pesata discussed this study and encouraged all other states in the country to initiate similar arts in health mapping projects. The Florida Arts in Health Mapping Project will be published soon, and they offered to share their study to be used as a model to be replicated in the other states. To follow this project or to seek further information regarding how you can start a mapping project for your state, please reach out to the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine. Dr. Fancourt was a keynote speaker at the conference, who received a standing ovation after presenting the variety of studies she has been working on surrounding the intersection of arts, health, humanities, and medicine. She shared her “Arts & Health Logic Model”, which includes psychological, physiological, and behavioral components. There are characteristics of art that she believes make it unique (such as multi-modality, beauty, and joy) and potential areas where she believes the arts can have a key impact (prevention, treatment, and care). The multiple lenses she utilizes for her research (basic, applied, and population science) were also a key aspect of her presentation. Overall, she encouraged people to continue studying multiple levels of research and emphasized that we will only make progress if we look at arts and health through multi-disciplinary perspectives. Networking

There were multiple networking events at this year’s conference. Regional networks of NOAH began developing more during a networking breakfast that took place that Tuesday morning. Attendees gathered by their location in the United States and discussed initiatives for each individual state or region. There was also an art show reception and open-mic night. In addition to allowing interaction with other people attending the NOAH track, the conference also provided an opportunity to meet and discuss arts in health with healthcare design professionals attending the larger Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo. Further information

The location for next year’s conference will be announced in January. If you are interested in attending, accessing resources, becoming a member, or simply getting more involved, please visit NOAH’s website. NOAH continues to enhance professionalisation of the arts in health field in the United States, as evident from the three major resources they published as part of the conference this year: Addressing the Future of Arts in Health in America: Leadership Summit Report Code of Ethics for Arts in Health Professionals and Standards for Arts in Health Professionals NOAH Arts in Healthcare Management Handbook (co-edited by Patricia Lambert)

If you are interested in reading the NOAH Arts in Healthcare Management Handbook, please reach out to NOAH or keep an eye on their website. These were great additions to the white paper they published last year, Arts, Heath, and Well-Being in America. Additionally, NOAH’s Arts in Health Competency Task Force is currently working on establishing a core curriculum for arts in health professionals, which will aid in the development of a future, professional certification. If you are located in California and interested in the California regional network, please reach out to me. My email is listed on the Arts Health ECRN website, and I will post updates on my Twitter account when I know more. Thank you for your interest in this year’s conference. I hope you have found this information helpful and will consider attending next year! Thanks to Katrina for taking the time to write such an insightful post. If there is an arts and health event that you have recently attended that you would like to blog about please feel free to get in touch (Robyn Dowlen - Blog Editor)

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