The mission of the UNM Arts-in-Medicine Program is to improve health and well-being and alleviate suffering by engaging participants in their innate powers of creativity and healing.
Based at the University of New Mexico Hospitals (UNMH), the program offers a diversity of healing arts and creative encounters intended to revitalize relationship with self and others, transform medical environments, and enrich communities.
Artists-in-medicine aim to engage the participant as deeply as possible in the creative encounter
Meeting and joining an other; be it person or place, idea, image, or sensation; in openness, without judgment or expectation, intending for and allowing something new to be born.
AIM engages people in their own healing process through creative encounters involving one or more of the following:
- music, visual art, dance, poetry, creative writing
- life review, self-reflection, guided imagery, deep breathing, relaxation techniques, meditation, mindfulness
- massage, energy work, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, essential oil
Benefits for Patients and Families
- Encourage participants to stop, examine, and transform the quality of their lives
- Provide opportunities to express painful and/or suppressed feelings
- Co-create new perspectives on and increased meaning in life
- Facilitate positive experiences and heightened self-esteem
- Relieve pain, discomfort, anxiety, restlessness, respiratory difficulties, insomnia, isolation, depression, withdrawal, loss of speech, grief, and anticipatory grief
Benefits to Health Care Workers
What is the connection between creative encounters and improved medical practice?
As you engage more frequently and more deeply in creative encounters you:
and thus develop a deeper understanding of the complex and oftentimes obscure nature of pain, illness, and the dying process
• Learn to facilitate and attend to details of process rather than outcome
and thus develop an attentiveness and sensitivity to details of pain management and patient care, especially when cure is not possible
• Observe and create more opportunities for change and choice
and thus empower the patient by involving him/her in decision making and develop an open-minded,
interdisciplinary, and collaborative approach to pain management and problem solving in general
and thus attend to one’s own challenges and sources of suffering in life while learning how to make healthy lifestyle choices
• Express yourself more easily, alone and in collaboration with others
and thus develop verbal and non-verbal communication skills, improve patient-caregiver relations, and understand self-expression as an integral component of health
• Clarify and personalize your sense of spirituality
and thus develop deep compassion and empathy for all human vulnerabilities and painful conditions
Arts-in-Medicine Special Events
The Arts-in-Medicine concert series takes place every Wednesday during the semester from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. The free concerts are held in the UNM Hospital BBRP Cafe and all are welcome to attend!
From the Director
“Arts-in-Medicine at UNM is a growing community of people immersed in creative process. Through music, art, dance, and many of the healing arts we facilitate this creative process for others in medical and community environments. Our aim is to inspire healing, learning, and potentially a relief from suffering, increased connectedness with self and other, and a renewed sense of possibility. Our commitment to the act of creating is not for ‘decoration’ but rather, to quote Rollo May, for ‘giving birth to some new reality’, whether it be personal or in the world around us. We invite you to participate in our Healing Arts Certificate program or our clinical program at UNM Hospitals, our local and regional community outreach projects or our international exchange program with Sub-Saharan Africa. Whether you are an aspiring or professional artist, a healing arts practitioner or medical provider, a potential donor, or someone dealing with illness, we welcome you.”
—Dr. Patricia Repar, Director, UNM Arts-In-Medicine
“The difference I see in the patients when they are participating in the art group always fascinates me. They are completely different people.”
Physician at UNMH Psychiatric Center