The Humanities and the Arts — May 31, 2017

Arts-Based Rehabilitation Therapies: A Mobile Coffee Discussion

Arts-based rehabilitation, broadly defined as music therapy, art therapy, dance therapy, medical humanities, and similar interventions, is a platform to connect researchers and care providers across disciplines at The Ohio State University. Arts-based services are currently provided at the university, but are often isolated and in need of participants. Additionally, inpatient and outpatient providers of neurotrauma treatments and rehabilitation have difficulty in connecting patients to arts-based programs after discharge. Further, patients with brain injury and their caregivers are unable to independently discover and participate in these resources due to fatigue, cost, transportation limitations, and competing priorities.

Through funds provided by the Humanities and the Arts Discovery Theme, on May 5, 2017, university faculty and staff discussed development of a comprehensive solution that a) connects inpatient, outpatient, and arts-based rehabilitation professionals, and b) supports researching the potential of arts-based therapy to improve outcomes in brain injury patients. Participants represented the following campus units:

The discussion began with presentations from JamesCare for Life music therapist Terel Jackson and Wexner Center for the Arts educator Tracie McCambridge. Exploring JamesCare for Life’s diverse programming for cancer patients at Ohio State provided a template for integrating arts-based services into existing neurotrauma therapy and rehabilitation programs. However, some services may require specialized settings, such as Art on the Brain, which promotes brain injury wellness through exploration of contemporary art exhibits at the Wexner Center for the Arts. An ideal solution may straddle both types of programs to provide broader opportunities for brain injury recovery.

Following the presentations, attendees identified critical questions in developing a research and care solution such as:

  • Which existing models such as JamesCare for Life can inform the integration of arts-based services into the patient continuum of care?
  • What funding pathways are available through donors and traditional funding agencies?
  • How can the measurement of arts-based services maintain the integrity and spirit of the art itself?
  • What strategies can Ohio State faculty and staff use to enhance proposal development for interdisciplinary research projects?
  • How can Ohio State develop interdisciplinary coursework to train art, dance, and music therapists?

Future activities and discussions will seek to answer these questions and install a steering committee to guide planning and development of an interdisciplinary research and patient care incubator.