Center for Arts in Medicine

Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities Toolkit

Program Model Resources

In 2008, the Weems Arts in Medicine program was developed in Franklin County, FL, as the first rural community program in Florida through the Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities program. In 2010, the Sacred Heart on the Gulf Arts in Medicine program was developed in Gulf County; and in 2011, programs were developed in Calhoun (Calhoun-Liberty Arts in Medicine) and Columbia Counties. Click on the links below to find resources developed by and for these programs.

Weems Arts in Medicine Program:

The Weems Memorial Arts in Medicine program was founded in 2009 through a partnership grant with the Arts in Medicine programs at UF and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs (FL DCA). Currently, the Arts in Medicine Program partners with Franklin's Promise Coalition to promote individual and community health in Franklin County. Arts in Medicine in Franklin County works to create collaborations among healthcare providers, community arts organizations and health and human services groups within the county to coordinate and raise visibility of community resources. These collaborations spark projects that move the message of the arts, health and well-being to a broader audience.

In this way, the arts are a primary and effective tool for connection, communication and cooperation across seemingly disparate ideas, organizations and disciplines. 


Sacred Heart on the Gulf Arts in Medicine Program:

The Sacred Heart Hospital AIM Program, is a collaborative effort between the Shands Arts in Medicine and Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf. The Sacred Heart AIM Series integrates performing, meditative and visual arts into a wide variety of settings to help promote community wellness. For more information on Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf, please visit


Calhoun Liberty Arts in Medicine Program

Through a partnership between Calhoun-Liberty Hospital and the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, a program was launched in Calhoun County in February of 2011. The Calhoun-Liberty Arts in Medicine program includes bedside arts programs focused primarily on long-term stay, or “swing-bed”, patients. Community artists have been trained to work with these patients and to facilitate programs in the community that are designed to enhance community engagement and encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

As a result of positive patient feedback and recognition of the fiscal benefits of the program (patients are choosing to stay at Calhoun-Liberty because of the art program when they would normally transfer to a rehabilitation facility outside of the area), the hospital has hired a full-time coordinator for the program and has added a line item to its annual budget to support artist in residence wages on an ongoing basis. Artists will be employed, not just contracted, by the hospital beginning this fiscal year to provide daily bedside services. The hospital has also partnered with the local library to reduce art supply costs through shared bulk ordering and has been given – free of cost for three years– a prominent corner building to use as a community art gallery.


Wakulla County Coalition for Youth:

The Wakulla County Coalition for Youth takes a holistic view of the community, family, school, youth and peer groups. Of importance to the WCCY is the assurance that opportunities are being provided to youth, life skills are being strengthened, and youth are given support and recognition at home, in the community, and in school. The Coalition works across agency and provider networks serving youth to minimize risks and maximize the strength and resilience of Wakulla youth.

Further, the WCCY is a growing body of people who promote healthy youth development by preventing problem adolescent behaviors such as substance abuse, suicide, violence, delinquency, school drop-out, and teen pregnancy. The Coalition fosters collaboration and cooperation among all providers and agencies serving Wakulla in order to leverage efforts and better serve the needs of Wakulla youth, and thereby, families.

In practice, this collaboration means Coalition partners listen intently and with respect to reports from the Department of Juvenile Justice or the School District or the Health Department or the Sheriff's Office or from the YMCA or Extension Office or from the Mental Health or Substance Abuse provider networks or Parks and Rec or County Commission as they report their respective efforts in healthy youth development. In these meetings, gaps are sometimes revealed and the Coalition responds by shoring up – to greatest extent possible – holes in needed programs or services. It is a dynamic process that has resulted in genuine collaboration, and shared leadership toward a shared vision for Wakulla Youth.


Immokalee Arts in Health Program:

The Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities initiative is a collaborative effort between the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Kresge foundation, Shands Arts in Medicine (AIM) and several Immokalee community agencies, including the FSU College of Medicine, Collier Health Services, the Collier County Health Department, Rushman-Micah Angel Foundation and the United Arts Council of Collier County.

Immokalee is one of the latest rural communities identified by UF CAHRE, Shands AIM and the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs to develop an art in healthcare initiative in response to locally identified community health needs. A multidisciplinary arts-based approach , including visual, literary, and performing arts, will be developed to address health literacy, community engagement, and health outcomes. The initiative aims to reach individuals of all ages, their families, health care providers, and the Immokalee community-at-large.

Program Feature

In the summer of 2012, the Immokalee Arts in Health program conducted a study of a dance program designed to address youth obesity. Read the study brief here.

To learn more, please contact Javier Rosado, PhD, at


Jackson Hospital Arts in Health Program:

The Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities initiative is a collaborative effort between the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Kresge foundation, Shands Arts in Medicine (AIM) and Jackson Hospital. With funding from Kresge Foundation and the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Jackson Hospital has launched an arts in healthcare program with its initial focus on patients receiving chemotherapy treatmetss in it's outpatient center.


Okeechobee Community Cultural Outreach Program:


Okeechobee Main Street, along with partners from OCCOP, utilize high school students as the heart of their program to provide arts, crafts, drama, and musical entertainment to the residents of their senior citizens facilities. Students who participate in the program will earn volunteer hours, receive program-related training, benefit from work-related experiences, gain insight and empathy toward the target population and become familiar with basic work ethics. Senior citizens who participate in the program will have the opportunity for increased quality life.

OCCOP Partners:

  • Okeechobee High School
  • Okeechobee Community Theatre
  • Leslie's Dance Studio
  • Indian River State College/Dixon Hendry Campus
General Program Documents/Resources:

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