Center for Arts in Medicine

About the Center

What is Arts in Health?

Arts in health as a field

Arts in health (also sometimes referred to as arts in medicine or arts in healthcare) is a diverse, multidisciplinary field dedicated to transforming health and the healthcare experience through the arts. The field integrates literary, performing, and visual arts and design, and other forms of creative expression into a variety of healthcare and community settings to enhance health and well-being in diverse institutional and community contexts (NOAH, 2017).

Arts in health, as an academic discipline, emerged from a field that developed across the latter three decades of the 20th century. The arts in health field builds on the deep and enduring connections between the arts and health. It recognizes and advocates the roles of arts participation and creativity in developing and maintaining health in both healthcare and community contexts. Specific applications may include hospital-based programs in which professional artists facilitate bedside arts activities, art installations or exhibitions, and/or performances, and community-based arts programs designed to promote health, wellness, and health communication.

Arts in health as a discipline

Numerous disciplines utilize the arts for health promotion. The creative arts therapies, which are different but aligned with arts in health, were established between the 1930’s and 1960s in the United States. Creative arts therapists are mental health or counseling professionals who "use distinct arts-based methods and creative processes for the purpose of ameliorating disability and illness and optimizing health and wellness" (NCCATA, 2020). Arts in health began to emerge as a discipline in the US in the 1970’s. In this discipline, professional artists are trained to facilitate the arts to promote health in healthcare and community settings. A third discipline, arts in public health, has emerged as well in alignment with the national and global priority to enhance population health through wellness and prevention, and to address the social determinants of health, as well as the upstream drivers of health inequities. 

Around the globe, professionals in arts in health provide patients, their family members, and caregivers with opportunities for creative engagement and expression that support health and well-being. The discipline serves as an adjunct to medical care and public health. Science shows how creativity and culture can contribute to healing in a holistic sense, however, professionals in the field do not make claims that art alone can heal an illness or replace medical or mental health treatment. Rather, arts in health professionals understand how to facilitate creative experiences with patient or participant safety in mind. Artists in health can collaborate with health and human services professionals in research, advocacy, education, and engagement. Artists in health can leverage the social determinants of health and work in partnership with other professionals and systems to complement healthcare.  Finally, artists in public health settings partner with members of the community alongside public health professionals and social workers to deploy the arts in support of community-wide health and wellbeing.

Learn more

Online graduate program

The Center for Arts in Medicine offers online graduate-level education in arts in medicine and arts in public health. Use the following links to learn more about our educational offerings:

  • Master of Arts M.A. in Arts in Medicine
  • Graduate Certificate in Arts in Medicine
  • Graduate Certificate in Arts in Public Health

You can learn more about these offerings on our online graduate program page or you can submit a request for more information here.

Creating for the Health of it Professional Development Course

This online professional development course serves as a basic introduction to the field of arts in health. It also satisfies the arts in medicine prerequisite for the UF Center for Arts in Medicine’s online graduate programs, including the MA in Arts in Medicine and the Graduate Certificate in Arts in MedicineCreating for the Health of It takes approximately 20 hours to complete and is entirely self-paced.

Please note that this professional development course does not reflect the rigor or intensity of our UF Center for Arts in Medicine coursework for academic credit at the undergraduate or graduate level. Our graduate courses, specifically, are three-credit classes spanning over eight weeks and are led by an instructor with weekly assignments and deadlines. The look and feel of Creating for the Health of It resembles a short professional development or continuing education course**. 

Creating for the Health of It includes 5 modules: 

  • Overview of the Field 
  • Arts in Health Practice: Healthcare Settings 
  • Arts in Health Practice: Community Settings 
  • Professionalism in the Field 
  • Research and APA 

By the end of this professional development course, you will be able to: 

  1. Define the field of arts in health. 
  2. Describe the scope of practice of arts in health professionals. 
  3. Discuss how the field of arts in health developed in the United States. 
  4. Articulate how the arts can enhance healthcare and public health. 
  5. Identify the importance of patient safety in healthcare settings. 
  6. Recognize professional opportunities within the field of arts in health 


General Public: $465

Center for Arts in Medicine Students: Discounted*

Group Rates: Please inquire

Please contact with any inquiries. To register, please send an email with the subject "Creating For the Health of It Registration."

Other professional development programs

Arts in Health Summer Intensive

Arts in Health Research Intensive

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