BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Center for the Arts at the University at
Buffalo has been awarded a $287,182 grant by the John R. Oishei
Foundation to establish a program that will bring the performing
arts and artists into health-care settings to enhance the healing
environment for patients and caregivers in Western New York.
The center's innovative Arts in Healthcare initiative is being
established in collaboration with Women & Children's Hospital
of Buffalo, a Kaleida Health facility.
The first program of its kind in Western New York, it will be
modeled after a highly successful program at the University of
Florida. Plans call for Arts in Healthcare to expand to additional
health-care facilities in the region.
"Through many of our community-based grants, we have seen the
remarkable influence of the arts in conveying information and
helping to change behaviors," said Robert D. Gioia, president of
the Oishei Foundation. "We are particularly interested in seeing
the results of a formal, institutionally-based program with the
resources behind it brought by UB and the Kaleida System."
UB President John B. Simpson noted, "The arts contribute in
vital ways to UB's impact on the world around us. The Arts in
Healthcare program is a vivid example of the power of the public
research university, working in tandem with our partner
institutions across the region, to make a meaningful and lasting
difference in the communities we serve.
"We are proud to join with the Women and Children's Hospital of
Buffalo to foster an arts-enhanced healing environment for the
benefit of patients and caregivers throughout the region, and we
are grateful for the Oishei Foundation's strong support of this
visionary Center for the Arts program," Simpson added.
Thomas Burrows, executive director of the Center for the Arts,
said he was inspired by the University at Florida program.
"When I was shown what the involvement and deep commitment of
the very best professional artists working together with dedicated,
enlightened professional caregivers could accomplish through their
combined efforts to benefit patients, their families and hospital
staff, I knew that the Center for the Arts could and should create
a comprehensive program within this great research university for
and with the larger community.
Burrows added: "We have been so fortunate to find such a willing
and far-sighted partner in Women and Children's Hospital.
This program has been designed to grow, evolve, and to meet
changing needs as they become apparent."
Cheryl Klass, president of Women & Children's Hospital of
Buffalo, noted: "This innovative program will continue to enhance
the healing environment we provide for women and children in our
hospital. We are so pleased to partner with UB and bring this
innovative program to life in Western New York."
Arts in Healthcare has been in the planning stages for the past
year; the Center for the Arts has worked closely on its development
with Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo and Jill
Sonke-Henderson, co-founder and co-director of the University of
Florida's Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education
Burrows noted that the shared vision of the two organizations
has brought the initiative to fruition quickly. Two pilot projects
were completed this fall with classical guitarist Robert Bluestone
and the Hudson Vagabond Puppets.
He said that next summer the Center for the Arts will host an
intensive training program facilitated by the University of
Florida's CAHRE program where local invited visual artists,
musicians, poets, dancers, and storytellers will be trained to work
with patients, families, and staff in health-care settings as
integral members of the healthcare team.
Burrows said Arts in Healthcare is aligned with the strategic
strengths in "Artistic Expression and Performing Arts" and "Health
and Wellness Across the Life Span" that have been identified in the
UB 2020 strategic plan being implemented by the University at
Buffalo with the goal of rising among the ranks of the nation's
public research universities.
"The program will offer the benefits of multidisciplinary
research and scholarship for the benefit of our community, while
allowing the center to broaden its artistic and cultural reach in
the region," he added. "This project will help to increase the
national and international visibility of UB and Women &
Children's Hospital of Buffalo."
The arts have existed in health-care systems since the beginning
of recorded history. Early in the 20th century, however, the arts
were dropped from Western health-care with the intention of making
health-care facilities appear sleek, sanitary and more focused on
technology. In the second half of the century, there was a
resurgence of interest in bringing art back into health-care
Burrows said studies have shown that integrating the arts into
these settings helps to cultivate a healing environment, support
the mental and emotional recovery of patients, communicate health
and recovery information, and foster positive working conditions
for caregivers to improve satisfaction and retention.
He noted that visual, literary, and performing arts are
flourishing in hospitals, outpatient programs, hospices, and
nursing and retirement facilities throughout the world. The most
comprehensive and well-integrated program is the one in Florida
where Shands Hospital created an "Artist-in-Residence" program in
1991 for its pediatric oncology clinic. The program spread rapidly
to other units and by 1997 there were 14 visual, literary and
performance artists in the facility. The University of Florida
Performing Arts (UFPA) and Shands Arts in Medicine formed a
partnership to bring performing artists from UFPA's season into the
health care setting.
The University of Florida's Center for the Arts in Healthcare
Research and Education was established in 1999. CAHRE provides a
framework for interdisciplinary collaboration among University of
Florida faculty and students, health-care providers, clinical
artists, and the local and global communities. The program has been
so successful that a new initiative, AIM Together Florida, is being
funded by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs to expand the
program into five additional Florida partnerships.
The John R. Oishei Foundation's mission is to enhance the
quality of life for Buffalo area residents by supporting education,
health care, scientific research and the cultural, social, civic
and other charitable needs of the community. The foundation was
established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products
The Center for the Arts is dedicated to the cultural enrichment
of the University at Buffalo and its surrounding communities
through the presentation of public arts and cultural events of the
highest quality. Celebrating the creative process through
innovative programming, the Center crosses socio-economic,
cultural, and disciplinary boundaries. The Center nurtures
excellence and innovation in the arts through education,
presentation, community service, and research in the visual and
performing arts, while broadening the base of understanding,
appreciation, and support for the arts through meaningful community
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State
University of New York. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their
academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate
and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University
at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American
Each year, nearly 28,000 patients are admitted to Women and
Children's Hospital. Women and Children's Hospital practices
Family-Centered Care (FCC), which is an approach that includes
families as full partners with the health care team. Meaningful
partnerships and collaboration builds on service excellence and
leads to quality and safety in health care.