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Center for Arts in Medicine

Professional Development: Intensives, Training, Internships

Interdisciplinary Research Lab

CAM Interdisciplinary Research Lab

The Center for Arts in Medicine's Interdisciplinary Research Lab is a highly dynamic research lab comprised of 35 undergraduate and graduate students, research associates, and faculty from the arts, health sciences and other disciplines. With faculty mentorship, students provide research assistance on an array of studies that represent collaborations across numerous disciplines. Students are also supported in designing and executing their own research. The program engages students in interdisciplinary research, helps them develop research and leadership skills, and encourages creativity in interdisciplinary research. To learn more about current and past work completed by this team and/or the Center for Arts in Medicine faculty and staff, please visit our Research and Publications page.

Join the Interdisciplinary Research Lab!

The Center for Arts in Medicine Interdisciplinary Research Lab is currently conducting an array of research studies. These studies offer opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to gain experience with qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. Areas of research include arts and health communication, patient satisfaction, music in emergency and trauma care, and theatre and health communication. Our research assistants engage in a wide variety of tasks, including literature review, data collection, analysis, and hands-on work in the field. This dynamic team meets every Friday from 2-5pm and research credit is available.

Applications for the Summer 2021 team are being accepted through March 19, 2021. Please e-mail Nicole Morgan at nmorgan@arts.ufl.edu for more information.  

Student Research

Undergraduate Student Research
  • Suicide Prevention Through Theatre Intervention; Ariel Reich, University Scholar Awardee
  • Assessing Music Activity for Children on the Autism Spectrum; Michele Cabeza, University Scholar Awardee
  • Assessing the Impact of Dance on Menstrual Pain; Danielle Grinberg, University Scholar Awardee
Graduate Student Research
  • The Impact of Arts Activities on Workplace Satisfaction in Pediatric Waiting Rooms; Anna Martin
  • Amplifying the Self: Music Education and Health, Kristen Perry
  • Considering Patient Preference for Structured versus Non-Structured Art Activities, Jillian Olmo
  • Compassion Flag Project; Saundra Shanti

Interdisciplinary Research Team Members

Jill Sonke, Director, Investigator

Jill Sonke is director of the Center for the Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida (UF) and Assistant Director of UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine. She serves on the faculty of the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, and is an affiliated faculty member in the School of Theatre & Dance, the Center for African Studies, the STEM Translational Communication Center, the One Health Center, and the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration.  Jill is also an Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow in the UF Warrington College of Business, and serves on the editorial board for Arts & Health journal, and the board of Citizens for Florida Arts. Click here to view full biography.

Dr. Virginia Pesata, Investigator

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. 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. Click here to view full biography

Jenny Baxley Lee, Faculty Investigator

Jenny Baxley Lee, MA, BC-DMT, is a Lecturer and Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist with the University of Florida's Center for Arts in Medicine in the College of the Arts. She is affiliated faculty with the School of Theatre and Dance and the STEM Translational Communication Center and serves on the Research Committee in the College of the Arts. Jenny is an active member of the American Dance Therapy Association and served on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Dance Therapy as Book and Film Review Editor. Click here to view full biography

Dr. Dionne Champion, Faculty Investigator

Dionne's work has focused on the design and ethnographic study of learning environments that blend STEM and creative embodied learning activities, particularly for children who have experienced feelings of marginalization in STEM education settings (e.g. African Americans, girls).  She is interested in understanding the ways these populations draw on their everyday practices and use their bodies as resources.  She explores STEM engagement through making and embodied experienceto construct broader conceptualizations of cognition that substantively intertwine STEM learning and development, attending to the affective, social and emotional while broadening STEM knowledge and understanding. Click here to view full biography.  

Morgan Yacoe, Research Coordinator II

Morgan Yacoe is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator. She is a Research Coordinator for the Center for Arts in Medicine. She is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor within the School of Art and Art History and Resident Artist and Curator at the 4Most Gallery. Her goal as an artist is to work creatively with people and materials to facilitate greater opportunity, awareness, and integrated learning through traversing seemly disparate disciplines. Click here to view full biography. 

Nicole Morgan, Research Coordinator and Graduate Assistant

Nicole Morgan is a Research Coordinator and Graduate Assistant for the Center for Arts in Medicine. Nicole is a UF alum, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Health Education and Behavior and a minor in Health Disparities in Society. She has experience conducting and coordinating research within the CAM Interdisciplinary Lab and at the Institute on Aging in UF’s College of Medicine. She has also designed and implemented quality improvement initiatives within UF Health’s Department of Neuromedicine and in the College of Medicine Equal Access Clinic. Her research interests include the arts in public health, as well as the connection between aesthetic experiences and wellbeing. Click here to view full biography. 

Aaron Colverson, Graduate Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Megan Ayotte, Graduate Assistant

Bio coming soon.

​2020-21 Student Research Assistants

Aanchal Shah, Student Research Assistant

Aanchal Shah is a psychology student on the pre-medical track. She has a passion for the arts and is trained in 12 different dance styles: Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Hip-Hop, Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary, Bharatanatyam, Bollywood, Bhangra and Raas. She also has a passion for medicine and aspires to become a perinatologist. Aanchal is an Emerging Scholar Recipient and is in the Dance in Medicine certificate program. She loves being a part of the Center for Arts in Medicine Interdisciplinary Research Lab because it combines her love for medicine with the arts.

Alexander Dela Rea, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Alyssa Walters, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Ann-Marie Derias, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Austin Freedman, Student Research Assistant

Austin Freedman is a Nutritional Science and Botany major on the pre-med track. With a passion for the arts, Austin believes in its ability to heal and promote wellbeing. As a University Scholar Recipient, he investigated music as a treatment aid for children with ADHD, with a desire to find alternative treatments to conventional medication. Austin aspires to become a plastic surgeon, where he can utilize his artistic abilities and perspective to improve lives. In the lab, Austin is excited and eager to learn about different arts-based practices and their impacts on health.

Caroline Davidson, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Courtney Dougherty, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Danielle DuPuis, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Devin Valdez, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Emily Davis, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Emily Dolce, Student Research Assistant

Emily is a Applied Physiology and Kinesiology major with a minor in Disabilities in Society. Her research interests include how music can improve mental health and how the arts can be used to benefit individuals with disabilities. She has a passion for helping others and aspires to become pediatric oncologist.

Emily Erdman, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Gabriella Martinez, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Gisselle Perez, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Jennifer Ly, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Jordan Maurer, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Kelviyana Walker, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Maria Kuge, Student Research Assistant

Maria is a graduate student in the Arts in Medicine MA program at UF. After joining the research team in 2016, she has found a passion in Arts in Medicine and hopes to one day do her own research exploring the relationship between music and the brain.

Michelle Waldman, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Morgan Helmich, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Natalie Geis, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Nico Manhas, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Nicole Villanueva, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Nikita Kulkarni, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Sarah Braceras, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Stefany Marjani, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Victoria Grusauskas, Student Research Assistant

Bio coming soon.

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