Can Arts in Health Programs address some of the critical challenges in Healthcare today?
“Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!” is the resounding response from the founding directors of the National Organization for Arts in Health, NOAH, who presented their third annual conference this fall in Boston, with the theme, “Creating Community through Arts in Health”, in partnership with the Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo.
From the 16th to 19th of September, Aesthetics, Inc. founder Annette Ridenour joined healthcare facilities administrators, arts and health professionals, architects, physicians, and arts in public health proponents and educators to review over 30 presentations which demonstrated how arts programs can meet many of the serious challenges facing healthcare today.
How do we make the consideration of the arts primary in all considerations of the Healthcare environment, not the exception?
The answer to this poignant question was articulated during the pre-conference/main sessions and workshops that featured an ambitiously curated selection of innovative and exemplary national Arts in Health projects, case studies and research papers pushing the boundaries of a new Arts in Health paradigm. Also NOAH highlighted the Boston Arts in Health community and offered small-group art-based tours of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, led by facility staff. Issues covered included:
Physicians Burnout/Provider burnout,
Arts in Aging
Resources for starting an arts in health program
Artful design in healthcare facilities
Arts in public health initiatives
Arts and humanities in medical education
This year boasted the highest attendance in the organizations’ three years of existence thus far with representatives of 36 states, three nations and a large number of students and new members.
Likened to the Tedx of Arts in Health, the NOAH (National Organization of Arts in Health), panels, plenaries, and keynotes were held to the strict guidelines of maximum impact, succinctness and power punch of delivery.
In a world where competing causes vie for our attention, conference founders decided that time limitations on presentations would create an immediacy and focus to a presenter’s message and would enable the conference to showcase a more diverse and representative group of presenters.
While this truncated presentation style lent itself to an intensive lineup of presenters that had many attendees yearning for greater breadth and depth in some instances, all in attendance commented that the quality and sophistication of content surpassed all expectations and previous years performances.
Integrated Art and Architecture Creates a Wellness Destination for Children: Valley Children’s Hospital Collaborative Case Study.
This case study was presented collaboratively by Annette Ridenour of Aesthetics, Inc., Beverly Hayden- Pugh, Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Transformation Officer of Valley Children’s Hospital in conjunction with the Rui Luo, the lead project designer at SmithGroup.
The three women transported the room of initiated and uninitiated alike through their process of collaborative community co-creation design. This involved a discovery process whereby members of the hospital community where given a forum to voice their concerns. Hayden- Pugh, the hospital administrator talked the audience through the level of organizational, cultural and logistical challenges facing the rural Kern County community at the onset design phase.
Though collaboration of hospital administration, staff, families and stake holders across the hospital community a built environment was co-created that reflected the unique vision, ideals, character and brand of the organization while creating a children’s destination for the community.
If NOAH’s organizational growth is reflective of a movement taking hold across the country, its mission and purpose of professionalizing, advocacy, networking, and of streamlining and planting passionate seeds is paying off handsomely.
This movement represents the blood, sweat and tears of artists and administrators who for decades were the lone wolf sounding the benefits of their craft.
Yet the tide is changing. This year there was a significant increase in conference attendance over all. A noticeable change from previous years is a blooming growth in organizational membership, and conference attendance by arts administrators who claim to work full time in Arts in Health program coordination.
Also a promising sign was a greater representation of youth, student and young professional members of the Arts & Health community in the audience and as presenters. A positive step in a desired direction of the organization, it was noted that a larger number of ethnically, racially and culturally diverse attendees were present. This diversity across representative states is a testament to the efficacy of this movement spreading slowly and steadily over the entire country.