Center for Arts in Medicine

Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America

At the intersection of public health, arts and culture lies the potential for building stronger and healthier communities in America.

Over the past several decades, evidence has mounted to demonstrate that the arts and culture have measurable impacts on individual and community health. Today, innovation is taking root at the intersections of the arts, community development, creative placemaking and public health throughout the nation. 

Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America is a national initiative designed to accelerate this innovation to build healthy communities in alignment with our national public health goals. The initiative will expand the intersections of arts, community development and public health through strategic cross-sector collaboration, discovery, translation, and dissemination.

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Through the development of a national consortium and a series of dynamic working group convenings, the initiative will connect people and programs to build a community of thought leaders and stakeholders from the arts and culture, public health, community development, creative placemaking, healthcare, and other key sectors. Cross-sector collaboration and sharing of knowledge, exemplary program models and research strategies are at the heart of the initiative. 

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The initiative seeks to discover a broad array of stakeholders and program models, and to identify the guiding theoretical frames and meaningful literature related to the use of the arts in community health programs. A team of research scholars at the University of Florida will lead discovery and synthesis processes, including a field survey, focus groups, scoping and systematic reviews, and meta-analysis of evidence. The research strategy is designed to map, assess, and consolidate existing evidence, and to establish a national research agenda and standardized protocols with the potential for meaningful statistical power.

With the goal of enabling evidence-based practice that utilizes the arts for health promotion and communication, the initiative is committed to translating knowledge and research into practice and policy. The initiative’s collaboration and discovery components will inform an Evidence-based Framework for Using the Arts in Public Health. The framework will synthesize theory, evidence and best practice models to provide arts and public health practitioners with the resources needed to develop effective interdisciplinary partnerships, implement effective evidence-based practices, and reliably measure outcomes.

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Robust and comprehensive communication, publication, resource development, and presentation will optimize the initiative’s impact and sustainability. The research team will ensure timely publication of proceedings and findings, and will lead the development of an array of open-access resources, including a searchable research database and a repository of arts in public health resources. The repository will provide the public with access to databases of professionals and program models as well as resources such as media samples, logic models, research protocols and instruments.

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