Center for Arts in Medicine

Creating Healthy Communities 2022 Convening


Christopher Bailey

Christopher Bailey is the Arts and Health Lead at the World Health Organization, and the cofounder of the Healing Arts movement, dedicated to supporting arts based health interventions in communities, building the evidence base and supporting policy on the health benefits of the arts. Educated at Oxford and Columbia universities as well as the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Bailey brings performance, development, and public health experience to use the arts to improve physical, mental and social well-being with an emphasis on the underserved. Prior to his 20 years at WHO, he started the Knowledge Management work at the Rockefeller Foundation.  

Hannah L Drake

Hannah L. Drake is a blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and author of 11 books who writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race. Hannah serves as the Chief Creative Officer at IDEAS xLab in Louisville, KY. Hannah’s writing has been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, The Lily, The Bitter Southerner, Harper’s Bazaar and Revolt TV. Hannah was selected by the Muhammad Ali Center to be a Daughter of Greatness which features prominent women engaged in social philanthropy, activism, and pursuits of justice. Hannah was selected as one of the Best of the Best in Louisville, Kentucky for her poem Spaces and recently was honored as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Kentucky Governor recognizing an individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to community, state, and nation.  In 2021 Hannah’s work as an activist and poet was profiled in The New York Times, highlighting her art and the (Un)Known Project that seeks to unearth the names of Black men, women and children that were enslaved in Kentucky. Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”  

Maria Rosario Jackson

For more than 25 years, Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson’s work has focused on understanding and elevating arts, culture, and design as critical elements of healthy communities. Her work blends social science and arts- and humanities-based approaches to comprehensive community revitalization, systems change, the dynamics of race and ethnicity, and the roles of arts and culture in communities. After confirmation by the U.S. Senate in December 2021, Dr. Jackson became the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts in January 2022. With this historic appointment, Dr. Jackson is the nation’s first NEA chair to be an African American and Mexican American woman. 

Dr. Jackson has a long career in strategic planning, policy research and evaluation with philanthropy, government, and nonprofit organizations. She has served as an advisor on philanthropic programs and investments at national, regional, and local foundations.  

Dr. Jackson is currently on leave from Arizona State University, where she is a tenured Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. In that role, she has led the Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities and held an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions (2017-2022). For almost ten years, she also served as a senior advisor for Arts and Culture and Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation at the Kresge Foundation.  

Chris Appleton

Chris Appleton is Founder & CEO of Sewn Arts and the Art Pharmacy, a solution through which care providers prescribe and refer patients to arts & culture interventions that improve mental health and emotional well-being. A social entrepreneur, Chris has spent his career developing organizations where the arts meet civic life. Previously, Chris was Co-founder and Executive Director of WonderRoot, where he was focused on social change movement-building through the arts. Chris and his work have been featured in the New York Times, CNN, ABC, CBS, NPR, Fast Company, and more. Chris has been honored with numerous awards, including the Americans for the Arts National Emerging Leader Award, Emory Center for Creativity and the Arts Community Impact Award, and New Leaders Council Alumni Award. He was a special guest at the 2011 White House Youth Summit, member of the 2019 Class of Leadership Atlanta, and received honors such as Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40,Georgia Trend’s 100 Notable Georgians, Outstanding Atlanta Class of 2014, and World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers.

Currently pursuing his Executive MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Chris is engaged in a range of initiatives beyond his professional work. He helped build Vote with Dignity, a healthy democracy effort improving the voting experience through line-warming and neighborhood engagement. He has served on numerous boards including the Grady Health System’s Ambassador Force, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board, Americans for the Arts EL Council, Alliance Theatre Advisory Board, Health Connect South Advisory Board, and more.

Chris lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Annie, and two young children, Alexander and June.

Cleo Barnett

Cleo Barnett is a New Zealand-born and Los Angeles-based post-disciplinary artist, curator, and creative director. Since 2009, Barnett has directed and produced more than 300 public space interventions across five continents. Collaborating with artists, government agencies, non-profit and community-based organizations, foundations, educators, and global brands, her work empowers communities globally through public art and mass media experiments. Cleo’s private art practice explores the poetics of space and collective liberation through a surrealist lens. 

Barnett is currently the Creative Director of Amplifier studios, a non-profit design lab that builds media experiments to amplify social movements. Her work has been featured at the Brooklyn Museum, The New York Times, NPR, PBS, CNN, VICE and elsewhere. Cleo holds an M.A. in Art and Public Policy from New York University, and a double B.A. in Political Science and International Business from the University of Auckland. 

Jamie Bennett

From spring 2021-2022, Jamie Bennet served as the interim President & CEO of United States Artists. Currently, he is remaining on staff in an advisory role. From 2014-2020, Jamie was the Executive Director of ArtPlace America, which supported artists working as allies in equitable community development across rural, suburban, Tribal, and urban communities. Jamie has also worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Agnes Gund Foundation, and The Museum of Modern Art. Jamie had hoped to make a life in the theatre, but during his first year in college, he was cast as an Irish soldier going off to war and had to kiss Amanda Peet goodbye. Not able to make any of that believable, a number of things fell into place for him, and he has happily been a gay audience member ever since. Jamie has been sober since 2009.

Carrie Boucher

Social practice artist Carrie Boucher believes creative expression is a human right, that all forms of expression are important, and that all members of a community collectively create its unique culture. Her work is rooted in relationships and centered by equity. After graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Carrie spent a decade working as a visual artist in Chicago. In 2011, upon returning to Tampa Bay, she found the area experiencing a cultural renaissance, but saw that the benefits of this weren’t shared by all. She began looking into who had access to arts programming and taking note of whose perspectives were celebrated, whose were suppressed, and why the difference existed. This inquiry led to her 2013 transition into social practice with her mobile project NOMADstudio (Neighborhood-Oriented Mobile Art + Design studio), based on a 30-foot bus.  

Through NOMAD she and her team work to bolster community resilience and wellbeing, and shed light on systemic disparities. They facilitate creative engagements and organize networks of support in places where people typically lack access to the means of creative production. The team continues to do deep work in places like juvenile detention centers, group children’s homes, and high poverty neighborhoods.

With similar intention, SPACEcraft (Social Practice Activating Creative Environments, launched in 2020 by Carrie and fellow artists Mitzi Gordon and Bridget Elmer) is a project that converts shipping containers into programming spaces that are deployed throughout Pinellas County. It is a derivative of NOMAD and is executed with the help of a diverse community of creative partners. 

Carrie’s social practice work was featured at The Ringling Museum of Art as part of the 2021 Skyway exhibition–a celebration of artistic practices in the Tampa Bay region. 

You can find Carrie and her work at: and 

James Brooks

James L. Brooks serves as Director of Community Engagement for AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.  Brooks helps lead the effort for AARP to connect with the organization’s nearly 38 million members and the public nationwide in the communities where they live. 

Prior to AARP, Brooks served for eight years as Executive Director of Project Compassion, a non-profit organization in Chapel Hill, NC, that creates community and provides support for people living with serious illness, caregiving, end of life, and grief.  Previously, he was a Clinical Manager for Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee, FL. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation named Brooks as one of five Emerging Leaders in End-of-Life Care in 2006. His major publications in the palliative care field include:

  • The Unbroken Circle, published by Duke University
  • It’s About How You LIVE -- in Faith, published by the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization
  • The Experience of Volunteer Caregiving, a 5 year study published by Project Compassion

Brooks’ passion for arts, health, and community has led him to join the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation Board of Directors, the Encore Creativity Board of Directors, and StoryCorps’ Legacy Advisory Board.

Brooks holds an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and a Master of Divinity degree.  He is originally from Wilmington, NC and currently resides near Orlando, FL.

Shanae Burch

Shanaé Burch (she/her) believes in the power of storytelling to revive health and reconcile hearts. Her hunch has led her to pursue a doctorate in public health education at Teachers College, Columbia University where she's studying health equity through the lens of better leveraging arts and culture for wellbeing.  She previously attended Emerson College and Harvard Graduate School of Education where she received her B.F.A in Acting and Ed.M in Arts in Education respectively. Integrating all aspects of her learning, her dissertation is titled, In Pursuit Of Healthful Narratives: Black Women And Gender- Expansive Citizens Creating And Performing Art And Cultural Work In Service Of “Good Health” . Shanaé is proud to be a Gates Millennium Scholar, RWJF Health Policy Research Scholar, as well as member-leader of her union, Actors' Equity Association. She’s run 3 of the 6 World Major Marathons, and hopes to run in Tokyo, London, and Berlin one day.  

Melody Buyukozer Dawkins

Melody Buyukozer Dawkins, PhD, is a researcher at Slover Linett Audience Research. Melody brings together her training and experience as a developmental psychologist, experimental researcher, science communicator and labor organizer with a focus on issues of gender justice, fairness, access and equity. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, Melody’s research philosophy prioritizes a community-based participatory approach to bring the margins to the mainstream via social research. To this end, Melody has been working on supporting culture and community organizations in becoming more equitable, community-oriented and responsive and supportive to diverse audiences. As a researcher in the cultural sector, Melody has worked with clients such as the Library of Congress, Signature Theatre, StoryCorps, Carnegie Museum of Natural History as well as on the collaborative national studies, Turn Up the Mic, Tune Up the Future: A National Research Study of Roots Musicians in the U.S., funded by Whippoorwill Arts; Culture + Community in a Time of Crisis: A Special COVID Edition of Culture Track and the qualitative wave of Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well-Being. 

Nupur Chaudhury

Nupur Chaudhury is a public health urbanist who looks at cities, communities and connections through a grassroots lens. A bridge builder and translator in the fields of urban planning and public health, she has developed and implemented strategies to support residents, communities, and neighborhoods challenge power structures to build just, strong, and equitable cities. 

She has led coalition building efforts after Superstorm Sandy, redeveloped power structures in villages in India, and developed a citizen planning institute for public housing residents in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Her work spans the non profit, philanthropic and governmental systems, and has been featured in the American Journal of Public Health, CityLab, National Public Radio, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

Nupur is also the founder of NupurSpectives Consulting, where the community is the client, and Core Organizer of Dark Matter University, an anti-racist design justice school established in response to the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Find out more at

Deborah Cullinan

Deborah Cullinan is one of the nation’s leading thinkers on the pivotal role artists and arts organizations can play in shaping our social and political landscape, and has spent years mobilizing communities through arts and culture. She joined Stanford University in early 2022 as the first full-time Vice President for the Arts. Previously, she was CEO of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), where she launched several bold new programs, engagement strategies, and civic coalitions. Prior to joining YBCA in 2013, she was the Executive Director of San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts. She is a co-founder of CultureBank,  and recently served as co-chair of the San Francisco Arts Alliance, Vice Chair of the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy, and Secretary of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust. She was the inaugural Field Leader in Residence at Arizona State University’s National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation and a former Innovator in Residence at the Kauffman Foundation. She served on Mayor London Breed’s San Francisco Economic Recovery Task Force and also on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Jobs and Business Recovery Task Force. Her passion for using art and creativity to shift culture and advance equity and justice has made her a sought-after speaker at events and conferences around the world.

Mayor Jerry Demings

Mayor Jerry L. Demings was sworn in on Dec. 4, 2018, as the 5th elected Mayor of Orange County and is the first African-American to serve in the role.  He oversees more than 8,000 Orange County employees and a $4.8 billion budget as the County’s chief executive officer. He says that his goal is to make Orange County the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” by creating a community culture of innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness.

Mayor Demings is a trailblazer who became Orlando’s first African-American police chief in 1998 and was elected the first African-American Orange County Sheriff in 2008. He was re-elected in 2012 and again in 2016.

An Orlando native, Mayor Demings is married to former Orlando Police Chief Valdez B. Demings, who also made history as the first female police chief in Orlando. In November 2016, she was elected to the 115th Session of the United States Congress and is now serving in her third term during the current 117th Congress.   Congresswoman Demings represents Florida Congressional District 10.  They have three sons who are all graduates of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Mayor Demings is a graduate of Jones High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University and a master’s of business administration from Orlando College. He graduated magna cum laude.

He is a graduate of the 194th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Academy and the 23rd Session of the FBI’s National Executive Institute.  He also studied at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.   

Mayor Demings currently serves on several regional boards of directors, including the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Central Florida Expressway Authority, Metroplan Orlando, Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Lynx, Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission, Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, Orange County Tourist Development Council, Orlando Economic Partnership and he is involved in numerous civic organizations.  He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and is a steward at Saint Mark AME Church in Orlando.  Mayor Demings has a passion for working with organizations that support children, and volunteers with several non-profit agencies. 

Theo Edmonds

Theo Edmonds is a Culture Futurist™, entrepreneur, artist/poet, and a skilled, energetic innovator with 25 years of senior-level strategic leadership experience spanning the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. A seasoned communicator and thought leader with acumen for identifying and developing breakthrough strategic partnerships connecting scientific research, culture, creativity, and wellbeing, his work today is largely focused on humanizing the future of work.  In 2021, his team’s NSF-sponsored research in cultural analytics, hope, trust, and belonging was awarded the Trailblazer Award for Research and Innovation by the University of Louisville. Today, at the University of Colorado Denver, Theo is focused on building the Imaginator Academy -- a global transdisciplinary network of innovators mapping and measuring how identity shapes the American Imagination in business, health, and education. As part of this work, Theo serves as culture lead for several international work groups operating at the intersection of creativity, technology, neuroscience, and economics. In addition, he co-founded IDEAS xLab and was co-curator for the first Cross-Atlantic Creativity Congress in Salzburg, Austria. Theo and his husband Josh live in Denver, CO.

Photo credit: Kertis Creative

Rabbi Nancy Epstein

Rabbi Nancy E. Epstein is Professor of Community Health and Prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University where she has served on the faculty since 2000. She received the university's Barbara G. Hornum Award for Teaching Excellence and Pedagogical Innovation in 2017 and is a four-time winner of the school's Golden Apple Teaching Excellence Award. Professor Epstein directs Dornsife's graduate program in Arts in Public Health, which was established in 2018. She is fluent in many different areas of public health and policy advocacy and spent 20 years working in the legislative arena before entering higher education.  The core of her work focuses on building partnerships across multiple sectors, identifying, implementing and evaluating strategic initiatives and bringing the best of evidence-based research into policy and practice.

David Erickson

David J. Erickson is senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he heads the community development and economic education teams. His areas of research include community development finance, affordable housing, economic development, and institutional changes that benefit low-income communities. David has been a leader in the collaboration between the Federal Reserve and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in bringing the health sector together with community development. To date, this collaboration has resulted in 52 conferences and numerous publications, including a cluster of articles in Health Affairs in November, 2011. 

Erickson’s book on the history of community development, The Housing Policy Revolution: Networks and Neighborhoods, was published in 2009 by the Urban Institute Press. He also co-edited Investing in What Works for America’s Communities: Essays on People, Place, and Purpose (2012); What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities (2014); What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Futures of Families, Communities and the Nation (2015); and What Matters: Investing in Results to Build Strong, Vibrant Communities (2017). David has a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College. 

Daisy Fancourt

Dr. Daisy Fancourt is Associate Professor of Psychobiology & Epidemiology at University College London, where she heads the Social Biobehavioural Research Group. Her research focuses on the effects of social factors on health, including loneliness, social isolation, social & community assets, arts and cultural engagement, and social prescribing. Her work includes behavioural studies, clinical trials of new psychosocial interventions within the NHS, and epidemiological analyses. Daisy has received over £25 million in research funding as Principal and Co-Investigator and 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. From 2018-21 she was Director of the national UKRI MARCH Mental Health Research network on social, cultural and community engagement, and she is currently Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre on Arts and Health as well as a BBC New Generation Thinker and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. 

Sara Fenske Bahat

Sara is a connector, most at-home when bridging the creative arts, economics, and equitable design to shape our social and political landscape. As Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) interim CEO, Sara works collaboratively with the YBCA team to advance the organization as a dynamic home for artists, arts and culture, and social justice movement building. Prior to becoming interim CEO, Sara served as YBCA’s Board Chair. Under her leadership, YBCA navigated COVID-19 pandemic challenges (which resulted in the longest mass closure of cultural venues since World War II), received support from leading innovators for groundbreaking work at the intersection of arts and movement building, and launched the nation’s first dedicated guaranteed income program for artists.

Most recently, Sara served as chair of the California College of the Arts (CCA) MBA in Design Strategy, a groundbreaking, multidisciplinary degree rooted in systems theory, foresight, and innovation.

Sara has a community finance and economic development background. Before becoming an educator, she worked for New York City’s economic development agency and in banking, where she championed local government support for community banks, improved banking and savings products for immigrant households, and multi-state consumer protection settlements.

Raised in a Milwaukee family steeped in advocacy for human, civil, and LGBTQ+ rights, Sara quickly developed a commitment to activism and social justice. A dedicated political fundraiser and mobilizer, she is passionate about driving civic engagement and hosted the Democratic National Committee’s first-ever Zoom fundraiser at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sara is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the London School of Economics. She is a 2022 Presidential Leadership Scholar, exploring the meaning of culture and cohesion in a country increasingly divided across wealth, ideology, and acknowledgment of historic and present inequity.

Sara lives in San Francisco and loves a good dance party.

Tasha Golden, PhD

Tasha Golden, PhD is Director of Research at the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University, and a national leader and consultant in Arts + Public Health. She studies impacts of the arts, music, aesthetics, and social norms on health and well-being, including health research and practice. Holding a PhD in Public Health Sciences, Dr. Golden has served as an advisor on several national health initiatives, and is adjunct faculty for the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine. She is currently leading the pilot evaluation of CultureRx in Massachusetts: the first arts-on-prescription model in the U.S.

Golden is also a career artist and entrepreneur. As singer-songwriter for the critically acclaimed band Ellery, she toured full-time in the US and abroad, and her songs appear in feature films and TV dramas (ABC, SHOWTIME, FOX, NETFLIX, etc). She is the author of Once You Had Hands (Humanist Press) and the founder of Project Uncaged: an arts-based health intervention for incarcerated teen women that amplifies their voices in community and political discourses. Drawing on her unique background, Golden speaks and consults internationally—working with nonprofits, artists, researchers, healthcare providers and more to help enhance and reimagine their work.

Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez

Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Health Plan (UHP), a network of community health centers located in the South Bronx, Central Harlem and Northwestern Queens.  Through her leadership and vision, Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez has built Urban Health Plan into a first class health care organization. From its humble beginning as a one site local community health center, Urban Health Plan is now the largest employer in the 10459 zip code, one of the largest community health centers in New York State, and is considered a significant economic anchor and engine that has contributed to the resurgence in the growth and development of the local Bronx area.   

Ms. Izquierdo Hernandez was raised in the Bronx, NY.  She received an undergraduate degree from Boston College, and holds a master’s degree in speech pathology from Columbia University’s Teachers College, a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She was awarded an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Social Science from Boston College as well as an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Humane Letters from Metropolitan College of New York.  

Photo credit: Romina Hendlin

Sunil Iyengar

Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Under his leadership, the office has produced dozens of research reports, hosted periodic research events and webinars, led strategic plan development for the agency, and established research and data partnerships with the U.S Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. His office also conducts program evaluations and performance measurement for the Arts Endowment. Working with his team, Iyengar has created and pursued a long-term research agenda (based partly on an arts “system map” his office helped to design), founded a national data repository for the arts, and launched two awards programs for arts researchers, including the NEA Research Labs initiative. He chairs a federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development. For nearly a decade, he has contributed a monthly research post (titled “Taking Note”) to the agency’s official blog.

Iyengar and his team have collaborated with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the arts in relation to such topics as health and well-being, economic development, and STEM and medicine. His office provides research consultative support to Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. Most recently, he has led a research funding partnership with NIH as part of Sound Health, an initiative of the Kennedy Center and NIH in association with the Arts Endowment.

Prior to joining the agency as research director, Iyengar worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poems, book reviews, and literary essays. Iyengar has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Alana Jackson
Service Learning Lecturer: University of Florida

Alana Jackson, M.S., is a lecturer with the Center for Arts in Medicine. A songwriter, performer, and spoken word artist, she has performed original work in cities spanning from NYC, to Belfast, Ireland. Her early experiences as a caregiver compelled her to pursue a career in medicine, but it wasn't long into her college career before she determined that she couldn't turn her back on the healing she had also found through music. She graduated with distinction from Duke University with a self-designed degree in the “Intersections of Public Health and the Performing Arts," culminating her practicum with an original 20-person production focused on meditations around arts, illness, grief, and coping that continue to shape her outlook today.

Julene Johnson

Julene K Johnson, PhD, BM is a cognitive neuroscientist with an undergraduate degree in music. She is a Professor in the UCSF School of Nursing's Institute for Health & Aging and co-director of the Sound Health Network. She has a long-standing interest in studying music and health in both healthy aging and persons living with dementia. She recently completed a large a cluster-randomized trial (Community of Voices) that examined the effects of a community choir on the health and wellbeing of culturally diverse older adults. Dr. Johnson is currently developing and testing the effects of a piano improvisation intervention to improve cognition among adults with and without mild cognitive impairment.   In 2010, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Jyväskylä, Finland where she studied how community choirs help promote wellbeing among older adults. Dr. Johnson also examines the historical roots of music in nineteenth-century neurology and psychology literature, which helps frame interdisciplinary research questions about music, brain, and health. She is a co-author of the NEA Guide to Community-Engaged Research in the Arts and Health (2016).  In her spare time, she plays the flute and kantele and sings in a community choir.

Betty Marin

Betty Marín is a cultural worker from Wilmington, CA. Her work uses popular education and language justice to create spaces that encourage learning, dialogue, and solidarity between different communities. Currently some of this work happens with Slanguage Studio, the LA Tenants Union, and previously with the language justice collective Antena LA, and through other independent projects. With the Alliance for California Traditional Arts she supports artist fellows in integrating the traditional arts and cultural practices in health equity campaigns, co-curates a roundtable series to share resources and create exchange between traditional artists, and co-manages a community based sound archive about stories of cultural belonging and struggle in Boyle Heights. She has contributed curriculum and taught with ACTA’s Arts in Corrections program featured in these publications, and manages their Reentry program integrating the traditional arts within facilities for people recently released from prison or transitioning out. She graduated with an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. As a student, she edited a book titled Art and Education, centered on a conversation with artists and educators Pablo Helguera and Luis Camnitzer.

Jonathan McCrory

Jonathan McCrory is a two Obie Award-winning, Harlem-based artist who has served as Artistic Director at National Black Theatre since 2012 under the leadership of CEO, Sade Lythcott. He has directed numerous professional productions and concerts.  He has been acknowledged as an exceptional leader additionally through Craine’s New York Business 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives. In 2013, he was awarded the Emerging Producer Award by the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and the Torch Bearer Award by theatrical legend Woodie King Jr. He is a founding member of the collaborative producing organizations Harlem9, Black Theatre Commons, The Jubilee, Next Generation National Network and The Movement Theatre Company. McCrory sits on the National Advisory Committee for and was a member of the original cohort for ArtEquity. A Washington, DC native, McCrory attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and New York University’s TISCH School of the Arts. To learn more, please visit

Josh Miller

Josh Miller is a queer changemaker, public speaker, photographer, and outdoor explorer. He is the co-founder + CEO of IDEAS xLab – an organization that uses the art of storytelling and community collaboration to impact public health. Miller’s work has been featured by The New York Times, The Aspen Institute, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He received the 2022 Nonprofit Visionary Leader Award from Louisville Business First and was selected for Business Equality Magazine’s Forty LGBTQ+ Leaders under 40 and Louisville Business First's Forty under 40. Miller is a 2x TEDx speaker and has been described as a "force in our community.” He holds an MBA from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree in art administration and business administration from Bellarmine University. Miller has participated in fellowships including the Colorado Collective Leadership Initiative, CBCA Leadership Arts, and the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health. Previously, he served as an advisor to the Derby Diversity & Business Summit and co-chair for the Louisville Health Advisory Board’s Communications Committee.

Photo credit: Paul Miller Photography

Dan Morse

Dan Morse is working to advance social prescribing (doctors prescribing community activities such as arts, nature, and volunteering) in the United States. Social prescribing is being scaled nationwide in the UK, and Dan was picked by its inventors to spearhead American adoption. His team of volunteers are coordinating a US grassroots physician movement, creating a network of 400+ experts, exploring a major prospective pilot study and inaugural US social prescribing conference in collaboration with Professors at University of Florida, Harvard, Stanford, University of Michigan, reps from hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, Mass General Hospital and the NIH. Find out more at

Dan has spent the past decade focused on social determinants of health, from organizing place-based health interventions in Detroit to founding an award-winning health empowerment restaurant. Today, Dan is on the founding team of a new Bachelor's degree-granting college in San Francisco, called Make School. The college prepares students from disadvantaged backgrounds to get jobs at companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, and NASA. Danhas pioneered data-driven programs that address students’ social determinants of health and foster academic success. He is a graduate of University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Photo credit: Rebecca Goldman

Onye Ozuzu

Onye Ozuzu is a performing artist, choreographer, administrator, educator and researcher currently serving as the Dean of the College of the Arts at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.  Previously she was Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago.

Onye has been presenting Dance works since 1997.   Based in the US her work has been seen at venues such as Seattle Festival of Improvisational Dance, Kaay Fecc Festival Des Tous les Danses(Dakar, Senegal), La Festival del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Lisner Auditorium (Washington DC), McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA), danceGATHERING Lagos, as well as many anonymous site-specific locations.  Recent work includes Touch My Beloved’s Thought a collaboration with composer, Greg Ward, Project Toola work which garnered a 2018 Joyce Award. She facilitates work in a group improvisational score, The Technology of the Circle.  She continues to serve the field of dance as a thought leader, speaker and curator.   

Margery Pabst Steinmetz

Margery Pabst Steinmetz is an author, business owner, philanthropist and the Co-Founder of The Pabst Steinmetz Foundation whose mission is building community capacity through innovative practice in arts and education. The Foundation encourages and supports arts and education models that demonstrate collaboration, impact on community and sustainability. A key part of the work includes models that bring academic research and community implementation together.

Margery is the author of four books on life transitions, two of them on family caregiving which informs her work in arts in health and wellness. Her award winning book, “Enrich Your Caregiving Journey” began her personal and professional journey as an advocate for caregiving and aging issues. Margery serves on the boards of Atlantic Center for the Arts and The University of Central Florida as a Foundation Emeritus. She also serves at UCF’s teaching hospital, Lake Nona Hospital, and at Legacy Pointe, a lifelong learning, senior living community.

The Pabst Steinmetz Foundation is proud to support The University of Florida Epi-Arts Lab as a partner in building a research repository at the intersection of Arts in Medicine. We are also looking forward to welcoming the 2022 Creating Healthy Communities Conference to Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Steinmetz Hall, spaces built to showcase artists and to demonstrate the power of arts for every life.

Mallery Quetawki

Mallery Quetawki is from the rural Pueblo of Zuni in western New Mexico.  She is the mother of two and shares residence in both Albuquerque and Zuni Pueblo. She received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Art studio in the summer of 2009 from UNM-ABQ.  She is currently the Artist-in-Residence with the Community Environmental Health Program at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy.  Mallery has used art to translate scientific ideas, health impacts and research on uranium mines that are currently undergoing study in several Indigenous communities.  Her work has been featured on National Institutes of Health websites and published in peer-reviewed journals on environmental health and academic medicine.  Her painting entitled, “Our Microflora” is on permanent display at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Biological Engineering.

​Mallery has a large-scale mural titled, “Morning Prayer”, on permanent display at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which depicts the history of the Zuni People from Creation to modern times. Her oil painting symbolizing the ties between the Grand Canyon and Zuni culture is part of a traveling collaboration called the Zuni Map Art Project.  The collaborative set of art has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, NY and other museums and galleries in the US.  Other noted works include a 12-piece pastel and ink set entitled “What Makes a Zuni?” on permanent display at the Zuni IHS in Blackrock, NM and a mural painted at the Ho’n A:wan Park in Zuni Pueblo September 2018.  Mallery’s recent work was part of an interactive Google Doodle that kicked off Native American Heritage Month on November 1, 2021.

Examples of Mallery’s work can be found at:


Nisha Sajnani, PhD, RDT-BCT

Nisha Sajnani, Ph.D., RDT-BCT is the Director of the Program in Drama Therapy and Theatre & Health Lab; and founding Director of the Arts & Health @NYU. An award winning author, educator, and advocate, her body of work explores the unique ways in which aesthetic experience can inspire care, equity, and collective human flourishing across the lifespan. In her capacity as Chair of the NYU Creative Arts Therapies Consortium, she leads a WHO commission to map the evidence for the physical, mental, and social health benefits of  therapeutic arts and arts therapies. Through the Arts + Health @ NYU, she collaborated with WHO Europe and Culture Action Europe on the first WHO policy concerning the role of the arts with forcibly displaced persons. Dr. Sajnani is the Principal Editor of Drama Therapy Review, co-author of two books, including Intercultural Dramatherapy: Imagination and Action at the Intersections of Difference (Routledge, 2023), and an Introductory Guide to Research Methods for Drama Therapists (under contract). She is the co-editor of Trauma-Informed Drama Therapy: Transforming Clinics, Classrooms, and Communities (second edition forthcoming 2023). She has been published in Frontiers in Psychology, The Arts in Psychotherapy, The Journal of the Applied Arts and Health, Canadian Theatre Review, Europe Now, and Canadian Women's Studies and has been featured in the Boston Globe and on NPR

Sheila Savannah

Sheila Savannah has over thirty years of experience in multi sector collaboration and youth/family engagement to address health, safety, and community wellbeing. She is widely recognized for her contributions in the areas of health equity, mental health, capacity building, and therapeutic programming with children, adolescents, families, and communities. Sheila provides guidance on several national and regional projects focused on social connection and community resilience and previously served as an expert advisor for several bodies including the Center for Health Care Strategies Committee on Consumer Advancement, Harris County Regional Advisory Council on Medicaid Managed Care, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Multicultural Advisory Committee and advisor/mentor to multiple non-profit organizations. In 2009, she was a children’s mental health panelist for Vice President Al Gore’s Conference on Families and Health, and in 2014 she was a CDC Grand Rounds Panelist on Preventing Youth Violence. She has been a featured storyteller and guided expressive arts installations for nationally.  Sheila holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas, Austin, and an MA in behavioral sciences with concurrent training in expressive arts therapies from the University of Houston, Clear Lake. 

Photo credit: Christine Williams

Sandy Shaughnessy

Sandy Shaughnessy served at the Florida Division of Arts and Culture as an arts administrator for various grant programs, special events and initiatives before being appointed director in 2005. Prior to that, she was box office manager for Old School Square Cultural Arts Center in Delray Beach and director/treasurer of box office operations for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Her extensive experience with grants, performing arts venues, artists, producers, and Broadway road shows help her lead the state arts agency.

A native New Yorker, Sandy has work experience at ABC’s World News Tonight and 20/20 as well as at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a graduate of New York University with a bachelor of arts degree in dramatic literature, theatre history and the cinema with a minor in political science. She completed graduate coursework in arts administration and is trained in international protocol.

Sandy serves on the board of South Arts, the regional arts organization, where she chairs the audit committee.  She serves on the program and budget committee of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and has served as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and other State Arts Agencies.  

Jill Sonke, PhD

Jill Sonke, PhD, is research director in the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida (UF), director of national research and impact for the One Nation/One Project initiative, co-director of the EpiArts Lab (a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab at UF), and currently serves as Senior Advisor to the CDC Vaccine Confidence and Demand Team on the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Task Force. She is an affiliated faculty member in the UF School of Theatre & Dance, Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases, the Center for African Studies, the STEM Translational Communication Center, and the One Health Center, and a consulting editor for Health Promotion Practice journal. 

Jill studied dance at Interlochen Arts Academy, the Florida State University, in London, Paris and Athens with teachers of the Horton and Duncan techniques including Bella Lewitsky, Lynda Davis, Milton Meyers, Joy Kellman, Lori Belilove, Julia Levine and Hortense Koluris. She has been a principal dancer and soloist with Lori Belilove & the Isadora Duncan Dance Company in New York and a guest performer and choreographer with Dance Alive! and Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theatre.

With 27+ years of experience and leadership in the field of arts in health, Jill is active in research, teaching, and international cultural exchange. She is a mixed methods researcher with a current focus on population-level health outcomes associated with arts and cultural participation, arts in public health, and the arts in health communication. She is the recipient of a New Forms Florida Fellowship Award, a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Award, an Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, a UF Internationalizing the Curriculum Award, a UF Most Outstanding Service Learning Faculty Award, a UF Public Health Champions award, a UF Cross-Campus Faculty Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and over 300 grants for her programs and research at the University of Florida.

Stacey Springs, PhD

Dr. Springs is a meta-scientist interested in research integrity in public health and applying team science approaches to complex issues in public health. Her current work focuses on optimizing research methods and praxis to improve uptake of arts, design and creative placemaking into public health practice.

She holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Economics and Health Policy, completed an AHRQ K12 fellowship in Comparative Effectiveness Research and Patient Centered Outcomes Research at Brown University and a fellowship in Bioethics at Harvard Medical School. She has co-authored evidence synthesis methods guidance on the use of gray literature in scoping and systematic reviews, assessing evidence for complex public health interventions, assessing harms in systematic reviews and improving the uptake of evidence by healthcare systems. 

At Harvard University, she serves as the Research Integrity Officer for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where she combines her meta-research expertise and bioethics training to improve the integrity, rigor, reproducibility and ethical conduct of research.

Käthe Swaback

Käthe Swaback is a visual artist, arts administrator, and funder with an M.A. in art therapy. In 2019, Käthe joined Mass Cultural Council’s Creative Youth Development (CYD) team and co-piloted the new arts and health initiative, CultureRx in Social Prescription.  Her passion for exploring the impact of the intersections of social justice, health, and community building through the arts stems from over 25 years of work as an artistic and program director in CYD organizations. She joined the small core team of Raw Art Works in 1994 where she developed, taught, and supervised others in a full continuum of 50+ programs for more than 15 years.  From 2008-12, she led The Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project, culminating in the publication of a handbook and workbook, with BYAEP receiving statewide recognition for Excellence in Collaboration awarded by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. She has continued this work through the CYD National Partnership,  Youth Arts Impact Network, and the national CCRM Data Collaborative project. Swaback’s focus also includes working to advance health equity, mental health, and well-being. In May 2022, she was honored to receive the Parent/Professional Advocacy League’s 2022 Excellence in Family Leadership Award for work in mental health advocacy.

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