Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America

June 14, 2018

By: Jamie Hand, Director of Research Strategies, ArtPlace America

Over the past several decades, evidence has mounted to demonstrate that the arts have positive and measurable impacts on individual and community health. The field of arts in health has emerged from a rapidly growing number of arts programs in healthcare settings.

Concurrently, creative placemaking initiatives across the United States have demonstrated that the arts are a powerful means for strengthening the social and physical environments in communities. The arts are widely utilized as a means for health education and wellness promotion in communities, but their applications are inconsistently recognized in the public health sector. The theoretical and practical structures that informs the use of the arts in community health settings are not well defined, so the arts remain a readily available, yet highly underutilized resource in public health.

Recognizing that a tipping point is near, ArtPlace America has partnered with the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine to lead a national research effort that deepens and formalizes the intersection of the arts and public health. “Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America” is a two-year national initiative designed to accelerate the collaboration of arts and public health practitioners seeking to build healthy communities in alignment with national public health goals. 

Lead by a team of Center for Arts in Medicine research scholars, the project will bring together an inclusive array of existing initiatives and thought leaders to establish clear theoretical constructs, standardized research protocols with the potential for meaningful statistical power, and a framework for evidence-based practices and programs that utilize a comprehensive interdisciplinary knowledge base.

The research team will publish its findings for both practitioner and policy-focused audiences, and will lead the development of an open-access research database and repository of arts in public health resources needed to develop effective interdisciplinary partnerships, implement effective evidence- based practices, and reliably measure outcomes.

See the full press release, including a list of upcoming arts in public health working groups, here.

For more information or to get involved, visit the Center for Arts in Medicine’s Creating Healthy Communities website