Center for Arts in Medicine

Community Engagement

Rural Veterans Telerehabilitation Initiative

The UF Center for Arts in Medicine co-­‐developed the Rural Veterans Telerehabilitation Initiative Creative Arts Therapy Initiative in partnership with the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, The Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the VHA Office of Rural Health. Founded in 2014, it is the nation’s first telehealth-­‐based creative arts therapy program at a VA Medical Center. The Center and its partners have delivered pre and post assessments to program participants and are currently in the process of analyzing program outcomes. Additionally, musicians, writers and actors from the Center participate in programs at the VA and associated community outreach centers. The VA Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is an accomplished musician who serves on the Center’s advisory board. 

Click here for more information.

Arts in Health for Veterans

UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine partners with Malcom Randall VA Medical Center to provide bi-monthly arts workshops to inpatients on the psychiatry unit. Veteran artists meet bi-weekly at the UF Wilmot Gardens to create art inspired by the natural world.  Facilitated by Arts in Medicine artist Kris Sullivan, the group works with a variety of mediums and has been meeting regularly since 2009.  Many of the veterans also participate in Horticulture Therapy offerings provided by the gardens.  For more information please call 352/733.0880. 

In partnership with the Harn Museum of Art, artwork created in the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program's AIM for the VA/ Art in the GArdens Program, an exhibit of artwork created by veterans is currently featured at the Harn Museum of Art, in conjunction with the exhibit, Aftermath: The Fallout of War - America and the MIddle East.

Arts in Health for Veterans in Rural Communities

In 2012, the Center for Arts in Medicine partnered with the Lake City Veterans Administration Community Living Center (VACLC) in developing a very unique program in Lake City, FL.  With the goal of expanding the program into the broader community, the VACLC has developed a program model that focuses on empowering recreational therapists to use the arts as a primary tool in patient care.  The facility has 125 long-term in-patients who have been disabled through their military service.  Seven full-time recreational therapists have been trained in various arts modalities and have developed care plans that center on facilitation of the arts.  Our primary partner in this initiative is the Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for the VA system serving all of North Florida and South Georgia.  The VA’s organizational goal is to replicate the program model at their facilities throughout this broad region. In year one, the program focused on staff training and project pilots. In year two, they have focused on implementation and the development of permanent installations to improve the physical environment of the hospital.  They are currently providing patients with daily arts activities facilitated by staff, have developed several permanent installations, have hosted numerous visiting artist residencies, and have hosted a community art festival.  

The Telling Project Theatrical Performance

The Telling Project, funded by the Woodruff Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, captures the stories of veterans and brings them to life on stage. The Center for Arts in Medicine will host The Telling Project in Gainesville this year. Performances will take place in November. The Center for Arts in Medicine has also hosted veterans’ art exhibitions at UF Health Shands hospital and local arts galleries. The Center is currently involved in a six-­‐month photography project for veterans that will be on display at the Harn Museum of Art. 

Please click here for an informational flyer for the Telling Project

2016 Arts for Health Florida Symposium

Engaging Community and the Arts in Health and Wellbeing Across the Military Continuum​:

Staff from the Center for Arts in Medicine serve on the board of Arts for Health Florida and were instrumental in the planning of the symposia Engaging Community and the Arts in Health and Wellbeing Across the Military Continuum that will be held in three Florida locations in June. The symposia will feature collaboration and educational opportunities for community partners interested in offering programs for active military and veterans. There will also be a free community arts experience. The keynote speaker is CAPT Moira McGuire and other speakers include Susan Saloom from the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military and a planned speaker from the NEA Military Healing Arts Project. The Center for Arts in Medicine plans many other community events throughout the year, such as an annual day of arts experiences around the city called 352 Creates Gainesville.  

Research and Evaluation:

The Center for Arts in Medicine routinely undertakes research and engages in evaluation of its programs. Center faculty have published some of the most widely cited articles in the field. As part of a major research university, the Center has access to an extensive array of resources and interdisciplinary research partners to create robust research designs and teams. As a leader in research in arts and health, the Center has developed resources for the general public including the Arts in Medicine Research Database and the Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities toolkit. Since 2009, the Center has worked with the State of Florida to address rural health disparities, and is currently preparing a white paper summarizing outcomes of a 2015 rural health roundtable moderated by CAPT Moira McGuire and hosted by the Division of Cultural Affairs. 


Faculty from the Center have presented about work with the military and veterans at many professional conferences and symposia including the National Symposium for Arts and Health in the Military (2013), American Dance Therapy Association National Conference (2014, 2015), and Mayo Clinic Humanities in Medicine Symposium (2015). Upcoming presentations include Arts for Health Florida’s Engaging Community and the Arts in Health and Wellbeing Across the Military Continuum symposia and the American Art Therapy Association National Conference in 2016. 

Please click here to see the Mayo Clinic Humanities in Medicine Symposium 2015 program site, and click here for the agenda featuring a presenation by our faculty member Heather Spooner entitled: Transforming Veteran’s Care Through Telehealth-Based Arts Therapy

Please click here to see the brochure for the 2016 American Art Therapy Association conference featuring the Rural Veterans’ Telehealth Initiative Creative Arts Therapy Program on page 25 

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