Katrina Pineda, NOAH member and attendee of both annual conferences shared this excellent summary of our 2018 conference, Reimagining the Future of Arts in Health. We couldn’t resist sharing it here. To hear more from Katrina, visit her blog and follow her on Twitter!


The National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH) recently held its second annual conference, as part of the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo in Austin, Texas. NOAH is the professional, United States organization that exists to “serve and advance the field of arts in health” (National Organization for Arts in Health, 2018a). NOAH continues to enhance professionalization 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:

  1. Addressing the Future of Arts in Health in America: Leadership Summit Report (National Organization for Arts in Health, 2018b)
  2. Code of Ethics for Arts in Health Professionals and Standards for Arts in Health Professionals (National Organization for Arts in Health, 2018c)
  3. NOAH Arts in Healthcare Management Handbook (co-edited by Patricia Lambert, according to the University of Oregon, 2018)

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. Professionals from a range of fields gathered 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, organizational 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 strong emphasis this year. Dr. Daisy Fancourt stated, “It is critical to use multiple, disciplinary lenses to look at the arts” (personal communication, October 9, 2018). There were various arts in health programs that presented at the conference this year, many of which were great examples of interdisciplinary collaboration.

For example, Central Florida Community Arts continuously makes an effort to integrate arts into organizations that already understand the population. Their Musical Minds Choir is comprised of people who have some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s, as well as their care partners (Central Florida Community Arts, 2018). Joshua Vickey discussed how they collaborated with eight different Alzheimer’s and dementia organizations in order to launch this program (personal communication, October 9, 2018).

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 (personal communication, October 9, 2018).


In general, 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 (Chapline & Johnson, 2016). 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 before the conference 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” (McKinley, 2018).

University of Florida also shared a double-blind, randomized control trial of live preferential music that they have been working on, as well as 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 a similar arts in health mapping project. “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 along with this project or ask for the study so 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-model, 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 looking at multiple levels of research and emphasized that we will only make progress if we look at arts and health through multi-disciplinary perspectives (personal communication, October 9, 2018).

Additional research initiatives and insights were shared in the following sessions:

  1. “Arts in Health Research: Let’s Team Up!” with Dr. Francois Bethoux, Lisa Gallagher, and Maria Jukic (Cleveland Clinic)
  2. “Conducting Research on Arts and Health: Perspectives from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arts Research on Chronic Stress Lab” with Dr. Girija Kaimal and Melissa Menzer (National Endowment for the Arts)
  3. ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Research and Practice Combining Arts, Humanities, Design and Health: A Preliminary “View from the Bridge” of Creative Health Collaborations at Arizona State University’ with Dr. Tamara Underiner and Jisun Myung (Arizona State University)
  4. “Community-Engaged Approaches to Evidence Synthesis: A Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration” with Steven Boudreau (Rhode Island Department of Health), Sherilyn Brown, and Stacy Springs (Brown University School of Public Health)


There were multiple networking events at this year’s conference, as well. Regional networks of NOAH began developing more. Attendees gathered for a regional networking breakfast on Tuesday morning, organized by their location in the United States. 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.

The location of 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 be sure to visit NOAH’s website. 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!


NOTE: Katrina Pineda is an individual NOAH member and conference attendee, but is not employed by nor officially representing NOAH. This blog was written for the Arts Health Early Career Research Network , for which Katrina is the California representative. Please note that this post will also be viewable on the Arts Health Early Career Research Network’s website.



Central Florida Community Arts. (2018). Arts & Wellness. Retrieved from https://cfcarts.com/arts-and-wellness/

Chapline, J., & Johnson, J. K. (2016). The National Endowment for the Arts guide to community-engaged research in the arts and health (LCCN 2016052762). Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts Office of Research & Analysis.

McKinley, B. (2018, June 14). University of Florida and ArtPlace America launch national initiative for arts and public health [Press release]. University of Florida College of the Arts.

National Organization for Arts in Health. (2018a). About NOAH. Retrieved from https://thenoah.net/

National Organization for Arts in Health. (2018b). Addressing the future of arts in health in America. San Diego, CA: Author.

National Organization for Arts in Health. (2018c). Code of ethics for arts in health professionals and standards for arts in health professionals (1st ed.). San Diego, CA: Author.

University of Oregon. (2018). School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management: Patricia Lambert. Retrieved from https://pppm.uoregon.edu/pppm/patricia-lambert