As a UF student Lauren studied psychology, but a lifelong love of dance brought her to UF Health Arts in Medicine. There she discovered how the arts could bridge the gap between what is medically and spiritually needed in times of illness. In 1999 she began working for AIM as an Artist in Residence/Coordinator. She completed the UF Center for Arts in Medicine Dance in Healthcare Certificate and went on to become a registered nurse. Using her dual education, she helped form a unique employment model wherein she serves as a clinical resource for AIM and manages the integrative therapies team.
In her spare time, Lauren enjoys taking pictures, spending time in nature, and making memories with her family.
Rachel Carrico (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Dance Studies in the School of Theatre + Dance. She is currently preparing a book manuscript tentatively titled Footwork! Dancing Politics and Pleasure at the New Orleans Second Line. It explores second lining, an improvisational dance form that, for more than a century, has carried people of African descent through the streets of New Orleans. Weekly second line parades contribute to community health in many ways, not only inviting physical exercise, but also building intergenerational networks of care and security, providing venues for spiritual connection, and wresting control of city streets from structural forces of dispossession. An emerging area of Carrico's research concerns disaster and the body. This research grows from her experiences with bodily performance in post-Katrina New Orleans but has taken sharper focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Carrico holds a Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies from the University of California–Riverside, an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU, and a teaching certificate from the Limón Institute. She parades in New Orleans annually with the Ice Divas Social & Pleasure Club.
Dr. Daisy Fancourt is Associate Professor of Psychobiology & Epidemiology and a Wellcome Research Fellow at University College London. Her work focuses on the effects of social, cultural and community engagement on health. Daisy has received over £17 million in funding and her work has been recognised with awards from the British Science Association, Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust, British Academy, British Federation of Women Graduates, American Psychosomatic Society, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Royal Society for Public Health and NHS England. Daisy is currently a consultant to the World Health Organisation on arts and health, recently publishing an evidence synthesis of 3,500 studies on arts and health that was named the Global Aesthetic Achievement of 2019. She also works closely with NHS England and Public Health England on the evaluation of social prescribing and leads the MARCH Mental Health Research Network, bringing together over 1300 researchers and community organisations focusing on community assets and mental health. Daisy has been named a BBC New Generation Thinker and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.
Carla L. Fisher, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the College of Journalism and Communications and Member of the UF Health Cancer Center. She directs the Family·Health·Lifespan Communication Lab, leading research to help patients and their families engage in healthy communication practice at home and in the clinic when coping with disease or disease risk. In her work she uses authentic patient, family, and clinician narratives to bring to the forefront the importance of communication in health and to provide behavioral modeling tools for developing healthy communication skills to enhance healthcare, coping, and reduce disease risk. She published the first and only evidence-based book on the central role mother-daughter communication plays in breast cancer coping and risk reduction, illustrating the importance of tailoring open and emotional support communication based on one’s developmental phase in life. The book has received awards and been recognized by experts at Johns Hopkins Breast Center and UCLA School of Medicine (recent review in Psycho-Oncology). Her research collaborations have garnered more than $2 million in funding from sources like the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). She frequently is invited to serve as an expert in narrative approaches to multi-method qualitative designs. Her work can be found in journals such as Psycho-Oncology, Supportive Care in Cancer, Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Journal of Genetic Counseling, Qualitative Health Research, and Families, Systems, & Health.
Janice L. Krieger is a professor in the Advertising Department and serves as Director of the STEM Translational Communication Center in the College of Journalism and Communications. She is the Co-Program Leader for the Cancer Population Sciences Research Program at the UF Cancer Institute. Dr. Krieger also directs the Communication and Dissemination Program and co-directs the Recruitment Center at the UF Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Dr. Krieger has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles related to her research expertise in designing, implementing, and evaluating translational communication interventions. She serves as a PI and co-I on several large grants funded by the National Institutes of Health. Her research has garnered more than $10 million in grant funding. Dr. Krieger serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Communication and is on the Editorial Board of Health Communication and the Journal of Health Communication. In these roles, she promotes research and practice that improves the translation of science to various stakeholders. She directs an advanced undergraduate research experience course each semester and teaches a doctoral-level seminar on Translational Communication Science each Spring.
Dr. Levy’s career is marked by dedication to innovation in rehabilitation and a passion for old-time music. Dr. Levy is the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Forces Clinical Research Investigator embedded at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System (NFSGVHS). Prior to that Dr. Levy served as the Chief of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, and the director of the Rural Veterans TeleRehabilitation Initiative (RVTRI) at NFSGVHS. With Dr. Levy’s guidance, Creative Forces and the RVTRI have partnered to use telehealth to deliver creative arts therapy to Veterans in their homes. Dr. Levy received the Paul B. Magnuson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rehabilitation Research and Development in 2015, “the highest honor for VA rehabilitation investigators.” In 2018, Dr. Levy was awarded The Ohio State University College of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award acknowledging exceptional contributions to the practice of medicine and to society as a whole. Dr. Levy has competed successfully in a number of competitions, earning awards as Florida's Old-Time Banjo Champion, and as Florida’s Old-Time Fiddle Champion. Dr. Levy is a recipient of both the Thelma Boltin and the Ed Fleming Awards for his contributions to old-time music in Florida. Chuck’s field work on the African roots of the banjo has been published in Banjo Roots and Branches which won the 2020 Bessaraboff Prize for the most distinguished book-length publication from the American Musical Instrument Society.
Virginia (Ginger) Pesata, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, FNAP
Dr. Pesata is a nurse educator, nurse practitioner and researcher. She has worked in several settings in home health, community hospitals, academic medical centers, and universities as a pediatric and family nurse practitioner, and in roles in nursing administration, research and higher education. She received a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from George Washington University and two Master of Nursing degrees as both a Family Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Her certifications include Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified and Nurse Executive Advanced-Board Certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is an Assistant Program Director and Associate Professor at South University and a Research Scholar at the University of Florida, Center for Arts in Medicine. Her research studies and publications are related to nursing and healthcare leadership, administration, HIV, health literacy, global health, the use of the arts in health communication, and the integration of the arts in hospital settings. She is a Fellow of the National Academies of Practice Nursing Academy and recently received the Faculty Research Award from South University.
Dr. Colleen Rua is Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at The University of Florida.Her research interests include Latinx Theatre, Immersive Theatre, the American Musical, and Theatre for Youth. Her book project, Coming Home: Latinx Representations on Broadway, focuses on three productions (West Side Story, The Capeman, and In the Heights) to explore these musicals and their creators as sites of healing for Latinx populations displaced by disaster. Dr. Rua’s conference presentations have included, “Gender, Environmentalism, and Secularization in Sor Juana’s el divino narciso,” and “Translation and Adaptation Challenges in Ana Caro’s valor, agravio y una mujer,” at the American Society for Theatre Research and “Serving Los Estados Unidos: Identity, War and Memory in Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue” at Northwestern University. Recent publications include “El Poder y Educación: Bilingualism and Translation in the American Musical,” in Delos Journal of World Literature and Translation, “Navigating Neverland and Wonderland: Audience as Spect-Character,” in Theatre History Studies Journal and “Pop Operas, or, Broadway sells T-shirts!" In American Literature in Translation 1980-1990 published by Cambridge University Press. Her recent directing credits include:…And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, Conference of the Birds, Assassins, Pilgrims of the Night and the immersive experiences An Awfully Big Adventure, and The Skin of Our Teeth, as well as staged readings of Nosotras que los queremos tanto by Hugo Salcedo, Lomas de poleo by Edeberto Galindo, and Red Bike and In the Time of the Butterflies by Caridad Svich. Dr. Rua co-founded and directed Bridgewater State University's Acting for Justice program. She was the recipient of Bridgewater State University’s 2019 Presidential Award for Distinguished Teaching and the 2015 recipient the New England Theatre Conference's Leonidas Nikole Award for Theatre Educator of the Year.
Michelle Tillander is an artist/educator whose research explores digital media technologies and contemporary learning. Teaching and learning have changed as sensory-rich media transforms the infastructure of connectivity, networking, and dynamic information by altering our consumption and production of knowledge. Prior to joining the University of Florida Art Education Department, she completed her MFA in photography, where she explored alternative process and the cultural circulation of imagery. After teaching in K-12 and developing the Governor's School for the arts, she eventually attended The Pennsylvania State University for her PhD, where she coordinated the Zoller Gallery. In 2009, she co-developed with Dr. Roland the UF online Masters in Art Education.
She regularly exhibits her art, which ranges from drawing and photos, to installation work. Her more recent work uses metaphor to raise awareness about a rare group of progressive and fatal diseases (lung, muscle, and brain) that affect the body at a cellular level, and was on display in 2019 at the Harn Museum. She had a chapter about special needs and digital technology in Exploring Digital Technologies for Art-Based Special Education: Models and Methods for the Inclusive K-12 Classroom published by Routledge. From 2017-2020, she was a University of Florida Term Professorship, and in 2019 University of Florida Anderson Scholar Faculty Honoree. Follow Michelle's current projects here.
Trent D. Williams, Jr. a native Houstonian received his MFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from The Florida State University and BA in Psychology from Morehouse College. Mr. Williams was a founding member of Urban Souls Dance Company in Houston, Texas and he has been a guest artist with Tallahassee Ballet in Tallahassee, FL, EDGEWORKS Dance Theatre in Washington, DC. Additionally, Mr. Williams has performed alongside Destiny’s Child, 112, and Janelle Monae among others. In 2007, Mr. Williams was invited to dance with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC). Mr. Williams’ choreography has been performed by Dayton Contemporary Second Company, Texas Tech University, Towson University, University of Trinidad & Tobago, Coker College Dance Company, Urban Souls Dance Company, and has been showcased at The American Dance Festival, The American College Dance Festival, The Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, The Dance Gallery in Huntsville, Texas, and Kennedy Center: Millennium Stage. Mr. Williams is currently teaching as an Assistant Professor at University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida where he continues to advance his passion, emotional expression and a unique style of dance to the students.