In the Loop
Alumni News : Feb 7, 2017

CAM Graduate Spotlight: Melissa Turnage

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.