January 16, 2024

Dear Members of NOAH and our Esteemed Community,

As I step into the role of President of the National Organization for Arts in Health, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and responsibility. My journey in arts in health has been one of discovery, learning, and personal and professional growth. The belief that arts play a crucial role in health and well-being has been a guiding star in my life and my career. Now, at the helm of NOAH, I am committed to steering our organization towards new horizons while anchoring our actions in the rich legacy we have built together.

The upcoming year promises to be a transformative one for us. We are eagerly anticipating the introduction of innovative initiatives and strategic enhancements of our existing programs. Among them:

  1. Enhancing the Annual Conference: Our annual conference is a gathering of kindred souls, where we share knowledge, experiences, and form deep connections. This year, we are excited to incorporate feedback from last year to further enrich these gatherings, including more structured networking time by region in addition to affinity.
  2. Continuing to Offer Educational Opportunities: Serving our members and the wider community by sharing-out best practices, new research, and pathways to professional practices will continue to be a focus for NOAH. Building upon our Core Curriculum for Arts in Health Professionals, last year we began offering NOAH Essentials of Arts in Health Certificate of Completion. We will continue offering this certificate of completion, which is designed to demonstrate a person’s foundational competency in the arts in health field.
  3. Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Our dedication to creating an inclusive environment in the arts in health sector remains unwavering. We will continue to focus on diverse representation and accessibility, ensuring that NOAH is an organization where everyone feels represented and valued.
  4. Launching a Strategic Plan: In the first half of 2024, NOAH will undergo a comprehensive Strategic Planning process. This plan will lay out clear, actionable steps for NOAH’s growth and development, ensuring that we not only meet but exceed the expectations and needs of our members and the wider arts in health community. This process will be inclusive, engaging members, stakeholders, and experts to shape a future that is both ambitious and achievable.

As we embark on this journey together, I invite each one of you to contribute, collaborate, and grow with us. Your insights, experiences, and passion are the lifeblood of NOAH. Together, let’s ensure that the field of arts in health not only thrives but also becomes a cornerstone in the broader landscape of healthcare.

Thank you for entrusting me with the leadership of this remarkable organization. I am excited about what we will achieve together.

Best regards,

Melanie Cohn

President of the Board
National Organization for Arts in Health

Previous Letters from the President

2023 - Barbara Steinhaus

December 1, 2023

Dear Members of NOAH, and Valued Community,

You welcomed me with a bouquet of graciousness as incoming president in the fall of 2021. Per my request, you did not let the harvest of what NOAH had accomplished pass. Instead, we all creatively imagined the bright future we have today. This has taken dedicated work on your parts, and passionate work by your talented and purposeful NOAH board. It has been my honor to serve with them.

As initiatives in arts on prescription offer communities a way to get “unstuck”, I think about NOAH and how to intentionally avoid getting stuck: be curious.

During the past two years NOAH has published resources and pathways to address a larger vision of being an arts in health practitioner. It would be valuable to ask: Are there other pathways?


The NOAHCON successes have showcased work done by our membership. What undiscovered stories are yet to share?


The growth in NOAH’s membership reflects the way we value diversity, equity, inclusion, and abilities. But again, I urge you to ask: What more might NOAH learn if we were to look again?

My duties will continue as the Immediate Past President, and member of the Executive Committee for one year. I support our new officers and wish them success with their service to NOAH. What questions will they ask? What answers will they find? How might we help them?

I heard someone recently use the arts as a metaphor for “evidence of things unseen”. How will we know unless we are curious.


Barbara Steinhaus, President

National Organization for Arts in Health

2023 - Barbara Steinhaus

January 11, 2023

Dear Members of NOAH, and Valued Community,

Happy New Year, 2023, to all of you and your families and friends. The place that you’ve given the National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH) in your lives is surely no secret to them. We at NOAH are grateful to them for their listening to you and embracing your passion.

NOAH is grateful to you, for your willingness to see the past and understand the needs surrounding human health and wellbeing, and your willingness to imagine the future and how the arts will improve human health and wellbeing.

Yet through the sharing of our increased industry (our hard yet passionate work!), we have hit a snag. Many require evidence-based knowledge when we present them with understanding and imagining. Many require that arts in health practitioners, educators, and administrators know more than they can imagine! How might we improve our ability to collect and share the accumulating impacts of the arts in health and wellbeing? Fortunately, NOAH members are working diligently to assist the field in the translation of our ‘different ways of knowing’ so that the knowledge of arts’ impact might catch up with their imagination.

NOAH members, you did not let this harvest pass last year! The recordings from the NOAHCON ’22 are still available for attendees in the Whova app to review presentations about research and the translation of impacts made by the arts. The NOAH December newsletter “2022 Wrapped” provides information concerning growth in membership, participation, initiatives, and opportunities.

On behalf of NOAH, I’d to like recognize and thank our many donors and sponsors who generously offered resources and funding. Your support is critical to NOAH’s mission to unite, advance, and serve the field; we are so grateful.

During this next year, there will be more opportunities for Member Meet-Ups, Research Forums, and Creative Response Forums to share with one another, encourage one another, and learn from one another. The NOAH Board of Directors has increased in size and talent, assisted by the brilliant work of NOAH’s two staff, Danielle Acerra and Heidie Ambrose, in order to fulfill their commitment to you. I am so honored to serve with them as NOAH continues to move the needle toward our Vision:  arts in health is an integral component of health and wellbeing.


Barbara Steinhaus, President

National Organization for Arts in Health

2022 - Barbara Steinhaus

January 7, 2022

Dear Members of NOAH, and Valued Community,

It has been my honor to serve as a part of the Board of Directors, and is now a tremendous honor to serve as president, something I take very seriously. Though you graciously honored me as incoming president at the October conference, I address you now more personally. My doctoral dissertation was on the black spiritual and the one that springs to mind at this time is entitled, “Sinner, please don’t let this harvest pass.”

I am reminded of it due to the shooting star I saw the other morning as I awaited the day. I like to sit on my back porch over my first cup of coffee and wait for the day to emerge. As I blinked and wondered to myself if I had actually seen the shooting star or not, I thought of NOAH, our National Organization for Arts in Health. Will it be a flash in the pan? Will it be a shooting star?

The new CORE CURRICULUM for ARTS in HEALTH PROFESSIONALS is a sustainable work with educational value that has every promise of launching new training for those interested in pursuing a career in arts in health.

The ANNUAL CONFERENCES engage a growing number of people and organizations to learn about the best practices that are enriching the health care settings, both public and private.

The ARTS for RESILIENCE in CLINICIANS initiative directly reflects our deep sense of care for and commitment to the healthcare worker. Arts in health humanizes the places where they work, otherwise bubbling with the discipline and knowledge of medical science and technology.

But is it NOAH’s work in DIVERSITY, EQUITY and INCLUSION that humanizes the field of arts in health.

In the time ahead for the National Organization for Arts in Health, there are new collaborations to be built, arts to be celebrated, and numerous programs and practitioners to be sustained. My call to you is that you please don’t let this harvest pass!


Barbara Steinhaus, President

National Organization for Arts in Health

2021 - Claire de Boer

December 10, 2021

Dear NOAH Community,

It was my greatest honor to serve as NOAH president for the past two years. I had the pleasure of interacting with so many of you through various projects, and I was reminded time and again that you – the NOAH board and NOAH membership – are a passionate, diverse, intelligent group dedicated to the magical powers of the arts and to health and well-being. What a privilege it has been to witness!

Although my tenure took place mostly during a time of apartness – this pandemic – you were brilliant in connecting at our Creative Response Forums and conferences. Some of you even joined NOAH committees, lending invaluable helping hands. Meanwhile, the board members, besides persevering at their places of employment, remained stoically dedicated to the work of NOAH – an equity overhaul, strategic plan development, and the Core Curriculum. I am awed by the valuable progress achieved even in a time of uncertainty and change. You are a resilient community.

What I wish for you – for us! – as we all continue this work, is progress toward growth and sustainability. We have smart ideas on how to achieve this: through a clear vision of our role, national organizational partnerships, purposeful board development, all the while maintaining the joy and warmth that are the culture of our field. We are on our way!

You are in capable and caring hands with Barbara, my successor. Barbara, a fellow founding board member, will lead this community with fresh eyes and listening ears. And if we get to meet in person again soon you, too, will be charmed by the sounds of her beautiful humming as she goes about her day. I am excited to watch our talented group of board members co-lead the field of arts in health in collaboration with her.

To all of you, I am grateful. I will see you at our functions and we will carry on together!


Claire De Boer

2020 - Claire de Boer

March 31st, 2020

Dear NOAH community,

What profound and rapid change we have witnessed in our healthcare system and daily lives over these last several weeks! Just recently, COVID units, social distancing, and allocation of scarce resources plans were foreign concepts, and are now part of everyday conversation. Usually, we gather together in times of crisis and now we may not. We are navigating an entirely new landscape, both personally and professionally. Clearly there is a place for the arts in this landscape. How do we deliver it in meaningful and personalized ways? How might art support our healthcare institutions’ emergency response plans? How can art support our clinicians in this highly stressful environment? How can we keep professional artists employed?  All of you are excellent networking resources for each other, and NOAH would like to connect you.

Two weeks ago we launched the NOAH Creative Response Project.

The first step was to offer a weekly Creative Response Forum for NOAH members, which we began on March 18. At these Zoom meetings, we discuss and share arts in health program COVID-19 response strategies and communally identify and problem solve the inherent challenges.

Second, the NOAH Creative Response Repository is a member-generated collection of short videos of music and art making engagements to share with each other and with the greater community.  In addition, we are collecting stories from our members about how they are adjusting to meet the needs of the communities we serve. During this time of social distancing and isolation, the arts can help, as is best demonstrated by the NOAH community – all of you!

Third, we are developing a one-page arts resource guide to share with hospital administrators. We know how to integrate arts into healthcare settings even with current restrictions, and hospitals are eager for the information. This crisis, terrible as it is, offers opportunity for arts in health to shine!

As we continue to develop the NOAH response to the COVID-19 crisis, we keep you all in our hearts. I have great faith in the power of the arts during times of stress, and especially in all of you for sharing that power and being present to each other. Thank you to all of you for the artistic and authentic care that you offer.

With warm wishes for clarity, calm and connection,


2019 - Claire de Boer

September 30th, 2019

Dear NOAH members,

I am delighted and honored to serve as president of NOAH for the next two years. Together with the board, our staff and all of you, we have lots of work ahead. And as a longtime endurance athlete, I come to you with well-practiced perseverance and pacing, both of which I believe will support my efforts for you!

I am deeply thankful to Todd Frazier for his leadership and to every founding board member for the diligent work, focused presence and passionate dedication over the past three years that have brought NOAH to the promising state we are today. Thank you also to Katie, Aly, Danielle and Sarah for the invaluable support that you have provided for all of us.

On arriving at this point, I have found myself reflecting on why I care so much about this work, and I would like to share my thoughts with you.

My journey to the field of arts in health was serendipitous, circuitous and in some ways ironic. Over the course of this journey, the arts have become integrated to my personal life for my own well-being. I believe that the power of the arts lies in their ability to enrich my human experience by eliciting reflection, emotion and creativity. Carefully regarding a painting connects me to deep thoughts about my life. Listening to inspiring music brings me all-encompassing joy, especially when I am in community. And learning to create a clay sculpture reminds me of flexibility in problem solving. Each result is related to my health and wellbeing and yet there is seldom one clear feeling or result: I float between curiosity, uncertainty, connectedness and satisfaction. These in-between areas of life are where I find myself when I am receiving healthcare, and perhaps where my healthcare providers find themselves when they provide it. I have learned that although I cherish the integration of the arts to my own wellness, I absolutely thrive on witnessing its magic on others. There is an invaluable space for art in our communal health and well-being, and I feel committed to making that space available to everyone.

I strongly believe that we are on course to bring general acceptance to the notion that the arts are integral to health and wellbeing. Several decades ago, exercise was mostly for athletes. Someone jogging in the road was a nut. And then, over the years, research showed that actually exercise was good for all of us, regardless of our skill level. We learned that there are many forms of exercise that bring us the benefits – we just need to choose forms that we like. Today, everyone exercises or if we don’t, we know we should, because we know it contributes to our health. I am convinced that the same will happen or is happening with art. As we conduct and publish research that gets attention in medical and hospital journals, art engagement will become generally accepted as an invaluable path toward health and wellbeing. People will choose art modalities that resonate with them. They will know that they benefit regardless of their skill level. And when we visit our primary care physician, and she asks “how often do you exercise?” she will add “how often do you engage in art?”

So… it is our great task as arts in health members of the field to contribute toward this visit, and collaboration is paramount. Artists, creative art therapists arts managers, healthcare providers, researchers, scientists and funders: everyone has a seat at this table, and it would be incomplete without you.

NOAH strives to offer a setting to unite all of these professions so that, together, we will improve health care for all through the power of the arts. I bring to you my best self as I take a turn at the helm.

Join me?

With warmest wishes,



NOAH Goals 2020


  • Develop a NOAH volunteer system for members to support our efforts and find sustainability in the workload for board members
  • Hold the 4th annual national NOAH conference in Long Beach, CA
  • Encourage the formation and growth of regional NOAH networks around the country, including communication, program share and symposium support


  • Hold 2nd Leadership Summit January 2020 with theme of addressing how the arts can address healthcare provider burnout, build a research community to better investigate the impact of the arts on health and well-being, and develop a sustainable infrastructure for artists to become trained and employed as professional artists in health
  • Write and publish the NOAH Artists/Arts Administrators in Health Core Curriculum
  • Develop and distribute a report on the level and character of support for arts in health by State Arts Agencies and, working with NACCATA, NALAA, AFTA, develop a set of priorities for enhancing thereto
  • Serve as a Partner Agency with AFTA in Arts Advocacy Day 2020 in Washington, DC
  • Initiate a national survey of Arts in Health with AFTA


  • Develop a strategic plan for research that complements the great efforts taking place nationwide.
  • Continue Research Lab webinars
  • Contract with a testing company to create certification exam
  • Develop a NOAH volunteer system for members to support our efforts and find sustainability in the workload for board members
  • Identify a new board member with expertise in Development
  • Increase ethnic diversity of our board, especially that which represents marginalized populations
  • Develop a consistent process of orientation for new board members
  • Continue NOAH’s priority of a sustainable and transparent business model


June 6, 2019

NOAH Members, Friends and Colleagues,

It is so exciting to think that I will again be with all of you in September at the NOAH 2019 annual conference in Boston: https://thenoah.net/2019-conference/ This conference will be extra special for me as it represents my last conference as NOAH’s first President of the Board of Directors. As I near the end of my term, I want to take this opportunity to offer my sincere appreciation to NOAH’s Directors, Committees, Ambassadors, Members, Supporters and Friends for helping the organization restart in 2016 and accomplish transformational goals over the subsequent three years. I’m so impressed with the dedication, professionalism, passion and support of these volunteer groups that I am compelled to list their achievements with corresponding links for us to review and reflect upon:

NOAH 2016-2019
– Creation of Name, Mission, Vision, Logo and Website: https://thenoah.net/

– Implementation of remote monthly Board and Committee Meetings and completion of 5 in-person Strategic Planning sessions in Boston, Lexington, Ohio, and two times in San Diego, coordinated with AMTA, AFTA, NCCATA, Lesley University, Boston Arts Consortium for Health (BACH), Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Metro Health, University of Kentucky HealthCare and NOAH Member collaborative focus groups: https://thenoah.net/official-statement-joint-meeting-of-the-national-coalition-of-creative-arts-therapies-associations-inc-and-the-national-organization-for-arts-in-health/

– Founding Memberships: https://thenoah.net/about/noah-founding-members/

– Conference Partnership Agreement with the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo
2017 and 2018 in Austin:
Conference Video:
Welcome by Renee Fleming:
Mystery guitarist performs at NOAH open mic in Austin:
2019 in Boston: https://thenoah.net/2019-conference/

– Map of the field/NOAH members: https://thenoah.net/map-of-the-field/#!map

– Foundational White Paper Commissioned and Published: Arts, Health and Well-Being in America: https://thenoah.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/NOAH-2017-White-Paper-Online-Edition.pdf

– Arts in Health Blog: https://thenoah.net/post-news-jobs/

– Leadership Summit at Georgetown University in Washington, DC with published a call to action: Addressing the Future of Arts in Health in America: https://thenoah.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/NOAH-Leadership-Summit-Report-October-2018.pdf

– Arts in Health Toolkits and Publications: https://thenoah.net/toolkits-publications/

– Foundational Code of Ethics and Standards for Arts in Health Professionals published: https://thenoah.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/NOAH-Code-of-Ethics-and-Standards-for-Arts-in-Health-Professionals.pdf

– Research Databases: https://thenoah.net/research-databases/

– Supporting arts in health during Arts Advocacy Day in Washington DC, 2018 and 2019, in collaboration with AFTA, represented by Naj Wikoff: https://thenoah.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/NOAH-April-Newsletter-NOAH-Updates-Member-Spotlights-More.pdf

– NOAH launches The Hamilton International Arts in Health Awards: https://thenoah.net/awards/

– NOAH Research and Professionalization Lab Video Conference Calls: https://thenoah.net/event-full-calendar/#!event/2019/6/14/noah-research-lab

– Committees/Chairs: Advocacy/Naj Wikoff, Conference/Annette Ridenour & Katherine Trapanovski, Governance/Claire deBoer, Professionalization/Ari Albright, Research/Ferol Carytsas & Jennifer Jose Lo M.D., Regional Networks/Alan Siegel M.D.

– NOAH and Arts in Health Historical Timeline: https://thenoah.net/about/

– NOAH nears 300 Individual and Organizational Members as of 5/19. Membership voting began in 2018 and in 2019 will include nominations of board members to the governance committee. Join today!: https://thenoah.net/membership/#join

I wrote to you in 2016 that I felt the field of Arts in Health is experiencing a renaissance, both in America and around the globe. More and more, people and institutions, and not only health care or health related institutions, are turning to the arts as a bridge to transcend boundaries, illuminate ideas, to discover, and explore more effective ways to live with, inspire, heal and care for each other. I am even more convinced of this today and have seen first-hand the expansion of a wide variety of arts in health programs across America. Examples of two of the programs that have impressed me and I have seen flourish over the last three years are: The Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester School of Medicine (Eastman Performing Arts Medicine): https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/eastman-performance-medicine.aspx , and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Arts Program: http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/arts.html I am especially proud of these programs because, in addition to gaining leadership support across disciplines in their regions, they proudly recognize that their participation in NOAH conferences, activities and mentor programs played an important role in their successes. I have to also mention how proud I was to hear of the $1.5 million grant that the Arts in Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals, run by NOAH Board Member Linh Dang as their Senior Director, received in 2019 – this is a game changer for New York!: https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/pressrelease/new-arts-in-medicine-program-to-benefit-patients-staff-and-the-community/

Finally, I must reinforce that NOAH is only possible today because of the past 25+ years of sequential national service beginning with the Society of Healthcare Arts Administrators, leading to the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, and most recently, the Arts and Health Alliance. I join NOAH in offering the friends, members and leaders of these organizations our sincere appreciation for supporting and driving initiatives that have defined the way the arts are contributing to the healthcare environment, patient experience, and health of communities today. I am certain that NOAH could not have moved forward with such momentum and strength without the open arms of cooperation and support from these organizations as well as support from the broader arts in health community – for this I am sincerely grateful. Now, I ask y’all to join me in welcoming, embracing and supporting NOAH’s Second President, Claire deBoer: https://sites.psu.edu/centerstage/ , as she formally steps forward during our September Conference in Boston to lead NOAH in continuing “to unite, advance, and serve the field of arts in health.”


Todd Frazier
Director, System Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM)
President, National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH)
[email protected]


2018 - J Todd Frazier

July 12, 2018

Dear NOAH Members and Friends of Arts in Health,

The decision I am most proud of NOAH for making, at its first board retreat in June of 2016, was to look to the field for guidance and to inform priorities. We spent our first year conducting surveys and focus groups, while celebrating and advocating for the field. We then commissioned the white paper “Arts, Health and Well-Being in America”, released in September 2017 to serve as a grounding on where we are in America and where we need to focus our energy. We’ve used our annual conference, first in September 2017 and coming up in October 2018, as a major focal point for projects to be reported, publications to be released, programs to be profiled and shared, and to “serve and advance the field” with our membership. The concluding recommendations from the white paper have dictated our work and include:

  1. Creation of a New National Structure and Strategy for the Arts, Health, and Well-Being Arena to Coalesce:

To realize this recommendation, we are organizing a Leadership Summit, bringing together professionals in human resources, nursing, patient experience, philanthropy, community health, public policy, and research, among other disciplines. Together we will explore challenges and priorities healthcare facilities and communities face and how the arts can be used to enhance health and wellbeing. Our diverse group of stakeholders, representing the broad and diverse leadership charged with making decisions to influence the future of healthcare in America, will review the recommendations contained in the NOAH white paper, identify the strategic next steps we can take to improve accessibility and outcomes across related fields, and draft a strategic plan that can guide the field over the next three to five years.

NOAH Board Vice-Chair Naj Wikoff is leading this effort, which has successfully raised the required funds via support from The Westreich Foundation, Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine, and Kaiser Permanente, and secured a presenting partner in Georgetown University and the Georgetown Lombardi Arts and Humanities Program of the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. The discussion will be facilitated by Janet Brown, former President & CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts. Gay Hanna will document the meeting and author a white paper report to be ready for release and discussion during our conference in October.

  1. Development of a Meta-Analysis of Existing Research, Programs, and Resources:

This is something NOAH and NOAH’s Research Committee, headed by NOAN Board Member Ferol Carytsas, have dedicated much quality time and effort. We are learning from institutions who have made research a priority, investigating how research journals, libraries, universities, and hospitals facilitate research information, and exploring what institutions have already developed databases, how they work, and how they might be effectively shared. We’ve heard exciting developments from a comprehensive interagency arts in health initiative in Rhode Island which has brought together representatives from their state health agencies, universities, and arts council, to address the impact of the arts on statewide health priorities. We are excited to have them presenting this wonderful model of collaboration and their database of research at our conference in October.

We continue to work on building both open and member-exclusive resources on our NOAH website, and are actively building partnerships that will provide our members and the field a centralized introduction to research, how to utilize, interpret and conduct research, and how to identify where gaps in research exist for the field of Arts in Health. We are happy that Dr. Francois Bethoux, The Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Arts and Medicine Institute, is taking a leadership role in the descriptive text and recommendations. We are also pleased there will be sessions on research prominently featured at the October conference.

  1. Formation of National Standards, Training, and Certification of Professional Artists, Healthcare Arts Administrators and Healthcare Arts Consultants:

This is a very important area. Right now, most hospitals create their own policies, or rely on policies not specifically designed for arts in health, to manage artists working in environments of care. We are creating a comprehensive policy where I work at Houston Methodist that is being developed in collaboration with our team of music therapists, project specialists in music and visual arts and executive leadership. For the most part, artists in our system contribute in community areas of the hospitals, although we’re developing more and more structured ways for artists to coordinate with music therapists to leverage results, like a recent residency with the Houston Grand Opera in the Psychiatric Clinic with Music Therapists Audry Zybura and Jennifer Townsend, and expanding our community reintegration opportunities for patients of the in-patient rehabilitation clinic with the Ermelinda Cuellar jazz trio and music therapist Jonathan Silbert – attached find a link to a Houston Grand Opera Video made after the residency experience and an image of a recent session with artists and therapists in a public area of the hospital. BUT, I can only speak for how this particular hospital addresses the work of artists in environments of care, and am glad that NOAH is working on coordinating national standards and endorsing further professionalization that all administrators can refer to and feel confident in.

NOAH is looking at what has been done by the previous task forces of the representative national organization, going back to the Society for Arts in Health, and putting dedicated time into fully developing and endorsing a set of professional standards of practice and code of ethics for artists working in health settings. I believe we have done wonderful work in this area through NOAH and NOAH’s Professionalization Committee, headed by NOAH Board Member Ari Albright. NOAH members and representatives of the field will review these items first through a survey in July, so that they can share thoughts and opinions with us before we move to finalize and publish for release at the October Conference.

As an extension to the third recommendation, we are pleased to also be working with a group of experts around the nation and the University of Oregon on an Arts in Healthcare Administrators Handbook, which will be the focus of one of our preconference sessions on October 7.  The conference will also be the launch for the handbook as a whole, which will be a significant tool for the development, professionalization, coordination, and management of arts in health programs. It will offer an update to the 2009 SAH handbook and exist as a living document on the NOAH website. Information in that handbook will also be valuable in contributing to further professionalization efforts planned for artists and administrators working in healthcare.

Finally, in our continued effort “to serve and advance the field of arts in health,” we have established a Regional Network Committee. The first committee meeting was held at the end of June, and I am happy to report that the meeting was attended by representatives of 11 different states. Three groups were chosen to pilot regional networks, which will begin first by conducting regional needs assessments. NOAH is exploring how best to help foster these networks by examining a variety of national network models in and out of the arts. There will be an “ask the expert” and a “breakfast roundtable” session at the conference and NOAH will be reporting regional network progress on its website. This effort is being led by NOAH Board member Dr. Alan Siegel.

Speaking of the NOAH website, we have a new membership platform that allows members to update their profile, add photos, search a national map and directory for other programs, send NOAH their good news and job opportunities, and add events to the national arts in health event calendar.

I hope that you are pleased with NOAH’s progress and the increasing value of NOAH membership, which includes receipt of our regular newsletter, progress reports such as this letter, and much more listed at thenoah.net/membership. I look forward to speaking with you personally at our annual conference in October, which will include our first formal business meeting for NOAH members, and for the latest information on NOAH, sponsorship opportunities, and becoming a member, please visit thenoah.net or send an email to Katie White-Swanson at [email protected].



Todd Frazier

Director, System Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM)
President, National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH)

[email protected]

Houston Grand Opera Video: Seeking the Human Spirit Music Therapy Residency: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39-FDu5IJ-w

2017 - J Todd Frazier

Friends and Colleagues of Arts in Health,

It is with great enthusiasm that I join a highly experienced and professionally diverse Board of Directors in helping create the National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH). The organization’s mission is to “serve and advance the field of Arts in Health” in America while envisioning a future where “Arts in Health is an integral part of health and wellbeing”.

The NOAH Board takes great pride and strength in remembering and celebrating the past 25+ years of sequential national service beginning with the Society of Healthcare Arts Administrators, leading to the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, and most recently, the Arts in Health Alliance. I join the Board in offering the friends, members and leaders of these organizations our sincere appreciation for supporting and driving initiatives that have defined the way the arts are contributing to the healthcare environment, patient experience, and health of communities today. NOAH recognizes this work at a critical time for the field and, in the eloquent words of Thomas Jefferson, embraces your collective “guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.”

In 2016, I had the rare opportunity to participate in a wide variety of conferences and events in the field of Art in Health around the nation, including the International Mobil Brain-Body Imaging and Neuroscience of Art, Innovation and Creativity, Chamber Music America, Arts to Research Universities (A2RU), Mayo Clinic Humanities, Organization for Human Brain Mapping, World Stroke Congress, Performing Arts Medicine Association, Golandsky Institute, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Exploring the Mind through Music at Rice University, American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), the Kennedy Center Arts Summit chaired by Yo-Yo Ma and Renee Fleming, and Houston Arts Partners Conferences, and have visited in focus groups on Arts in Health with a variety of organizations including the Eastman School of Music, Texas Tech University, A2RU, University of Texas, and accompanying the NOAH board, with the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Metro Health, Boston Arts Consortium for Health, Americans for the Arts and AMTA. These experiences, paired with the experiences of my NOAH Board member colleagues, which multiply the number of 2016 engagement points with the field exponentially, have confirmed to me that the field of Arts in Health is experiencing a renaissance, both in America and around the globe. More and more, people and institutions, and not only health care or health related institutions, are turning to the arts as a bridge to transcend boundaries, illuminate ideas, to discover, and explore more effective ways to live with, inspire, heal and care for each other.

I also found that many centers, schools or efforts in Arts in Health across the nation are actively seeking paths for growth, ways to overcome challenges, and are eager for communication with, and support and guidance from, a representative national organization. Even the larger centers with a greater level of institutional support, such as the one I work for, feel a need to leverage their work with others to help craft a broader more meaningful message, identify effective language that will communicate value across disciplines and industries, and an opportunity to share results, processes and benefits to the field through collective strength.

NOAH was formed to serve these needs and is currently communicating with and listening to the field through active participation in conferences, focus groups, regular board and committee meetings, individual field communications, review of existing programs and research, and our NOAH field survey (please fill out the field survey on the home page). We are actively considering collective solutions to a variety of the most important challenges communicated by the field, engaging in healthy, open and transparent dialogue and processes, adopting new approaches and technologies, all while remembering the basic thing that brings us all together, the thing we are passionately committed to, and agree upon as a common denominator – the potential of the arts to serve our fellow man in challenging times of life.

Furthermore, what we all know is that the various approaches, or entry points, to the Arts in Health, when administered effectively and purposefully coordinated, work beautifully in collaboration with each other, in synchrony amongst disciplines, while offering improved clinical, experiential, and holistic results. I think that is why the phrase “connecting, uniting and elevating” the field keeps coming up in NOAH discussions, as we review the individual progress being made, from the smallest to largest programs across the country.

The science and data in support of Arts in Health is there, and proves benefits from economic data, to the patient experience, from demonstrating brain plasticity, to the aesthetic environments impact on the patient and caregiver journey. We are showing this every day through our individual programs, but only collectively can we create an identity and a voice that leads to a future where “the Arts in Health is an integral part of health and wellbeing”. I hope we can count on you to join us in making this future a reality.

J. Todd Frazier


Director, Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital System;

President, National Organization for Arts in Health