Melissa Turnage graduated from the University of Florida with her Graduate Certificate in Arts in Medicine in October 2016. She has been an Artist in Residence specializing in dance/movement with the University of Alabama Birmingham's Arts in Medicine program since its inception in the Fall of 2013. Melissa is a teaching artist at ArtPlay and Creative Aging, while also teaching dance classes in the adolescent, adult and geriatric psych units at UAB.
Melissa also works bedside in the Heart & Lung Transplant unit at UAB where her she uses finger labyrinths as part of her creative movement practice. Labyrinths, which typically take the form of a winding path or design, are an ancient symbol that relate to wholeness and promote wellness and healing. Tracing the design of a labyrinth with their finger allows patients to engage in a form of dance or movement, when they would otherwise be unable to. Under the leadership of Melissa, the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital saw the benefit of labyrinths and added a permanent one that can be used by wheelchair or walking to their facility. Read more about the labyrinth at UAB here.
Melissa is now in the process of becoming a labyrinth facilitator. She hopes to deepen her understanding of the healing benefits of the labyrinth and share her knowledge with patients, staff and family members.