WUFT News

Center for Integrative Medicine opening at Shands

By on February 28th, 2013

For the last three decades, Shands Hospital at the University of Florida has set the foundation for using arts in medicine. This summer, the hospital will open its first Center for Integrative Medicine.

The Integrative Medicine Program will partner with UF’s College of Medicine and Shands’ Arts in Medicine program. The program started in the 1980s and has since grown to incorporate many different types of art and therapies for patients and employees at the hospital.

“Integrative medicine brings together medical science with complementary and alternative therapies,” said Jill Sonke, director of the UF Center for Arts in Medicine. “It bridges medical practice with disciplines like acupuncture, massage, tai chi, meditation, and yoga.”

This clinic will be the first of its kind at Shands. It will provide patients more opportunities to different techniques of healing, as well as the opportunity to receive these on an outpatient basis.

Shands’ Arts in Medicine program now provides patients with therapies like yoga and guided meditation on a bedside basis, but this new clinic will provide an expansion.

The Arts and Medicine yoga coordinator, Tammy Bernard, said research shows these practices give patients a better quality of life. Mindfulness, meditation and breathing techniques can actively be used to support a patient’s well-being, she said.

“I’ve seen in my own practice how patients respond so favorably to receiving this augmentation of practices,” Bernard said. “I’m just excited about how it’s going to unfold.”

Studies have shown integrative medicine can help patients with depression, anxiety, difficulties sleeping and pain management, she said.

The program is set to start in August, but this is not the only development for Arts in Medicine at UF. The program is in the process of trying to offer a master’s degree in Arts in Medicine. It will be an online curriculum focused on educating people to use the arts in a health care context.

Sonke said a master’s degree could attract many different students, including artists looking to work in health care environments and health care providers interested in using the arts to enhance their health practices.

The certificate of Arts in Medicine was launched last fall. Sonke said this growing field is very important to help humanize the stressful environment of the hospital, as well as give patients opportunities to express themselves. Sonke hopes to launch the master’s program in 2014.

Rebekah Geier edited this story online.


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  • Lee Ann Dodson

    I had the privilege of being the first artist in residence in the fledgling Arts in Medicine program and later was the director and artist for the Healing Wall Project at Shands from its inception in 1993 to its completion in June 1995. It is indeed wonderful that the Arts in Medicine program started primarily through the guidance and vision of Dr. John Graham-Pole and Mary Rockwood Lane, MSN, PhD has flourished and grown through the dedication and hard work of the many artists, volunteers, faculty, students, and staff over the last twenty years to become what it is today. Congratulations to all those involved in this very exciting new Center for Integrative Medicine!

    • susan Fusco-Fazio

      Amazing program!! I trained at Shands/UFL in a summer intensive in Arts in Medicine years ago and it was one of the most meaningful experiences in my life. I have been hoping for a masters program since this is just what I am looking for! Been searching for just the right one and have been waiting. Now I know why! I recall a beautiful program that offered theater improv for patients at the bedside called playback theater. We volunteered in it to learn and it was very powerful to see patients tell a bit of their story to a AIM volunteer and then they would interpret their story in a mine like performance. It was beautiful, moving the patients to emotion and gratitude. I met many gifted and compassionate people there. The program is blessed with a wonderful director- Jill Sonke!

 

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