Cultural Council and Florida Cancer Specialists to pilot Arts in Medicine program in Vero Beach


The Cultural Council of Indian River County (CCIRC) and Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS) have teamed up to pilot an Arts in Medicine Program in Vero Beach.  The program will integrate a wide variety of arts and artists into the clinical setting at the Florida Cancer Specialists practice.  The pilot is designed to create a healing environment that can help patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals deal with serious illness.  This is the first implementation of an arts and medicine program in a private clinical setting in the state of Florida.

Raul Storey, M.D., medical oncologist at FCS says this pilot program is a further extension of their integrative approach to cancer treatment.  “We try to advocate for the clinical concept of beautiful healing, in which we treat the patient in a way that the body, the mind and the soul are in synchrony.”  He adds that research into arts in medicine programs indicates that these programs improve the care experience, increase well-being of patients and promote improved recovery.

Cultural Council Executive Director Barbara Hoffman says the response from its members willing to give time to bring art into the clinical setting has been entirely positive.   “Several artists are now providing multiple music and art projects for the pilot.”  Elements of the new Arts in Medicine program will include displays of art, performances in public spaces, treatment area art activities, specific programs for staff and caregivers.  Local artists involved with the program will include musicians, visual artists, performers and actors, storytellers and authors.

The pilot is being created under the guidance of the Center for Arts and Medicine at the University of Florida.  The Center provides a framework for interdisciplinary collaboration among University of Florida faculty and students, healthcare providers, clinical artists, and local communities throughout the state.  Center Director Jill Sonke is impressed with the development of this pilot program in a relatively short period of time.  “This is an exciting and cutting edge development in Vero Beach and we hope this pilot will provide vital information that can be used to develop arts in medicine programs in private clinical settings statewide.”

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