Center for Arts in Medicine

Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America


What types of partnerships drive work at the intersection of the arts and public health? How are artists using creative practice to address health topics in their communities? What supports or challenges the use of the arts to promote health outside of the clinical setting?

Research addressing questions like these is a key component of the national Creating Healthy Communities: Art + Public Health in America initiative. We are using a variety of investigative methods to capture diverse perspectives about how the arts are being used to improve health throughout the country. The findings of this research will inform the development of a white paper, an evidence-based framework for using the arts in public health, and articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Our current work includes:

  • Field Survey: We are currently conducting a national field survey to explore the use of the arts in health and wellbeing programs. This 23-question survey takes approximately 8-12 minutes to complete and has been shared broadly with individuals and organizations doing work at the intersections of the arts, public health, and community building. We are still collecting information and invite you to share your perspectives! Click here to complete the survey and feel free to share it with others. The survey will remain open until February 15, 2019.
  • Scoping Review: How have the arts been used to improve wellbeing and facilitate health communication at the community health level in the United States? We are currently conducted an extensive search of published literature to address this question. We anticipate completion of the scoping review in March 2019. 
  • Systematic Review: The scoping review will lead to design and implementation of a systematic review of the literature, focused on use of the arts in public health. Unlike the scoping review, which provides a general overview of work being done in the field, this systematic review focus more narrowly and allow for a deep exploration of one aspect of work being done at the intersections of the arts and public health.
  • Focus Group Discussions: We have completed seven focus groups with public health professionals who use the arts, artists who work in public health programs, and people who participated in arts-based health communication programs.
  • Working Group Convenings: A series of working groups are taking place across the country. Over the past seven months, we have brought together artists, community developers/builders, public health professionals, researchers, and other individuals in dynamic discussion and reflection in Austin, Athens, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. Groups will take place in the fall of 2019 in Lexington, KY, Corvallis, OR, and Orlando, FL. Transcripts from the working group dialogues are analyzed thematically and contribute as data sets to the evidence-based framework for using the arts in public health. 



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