February 24, 2006

Art’s role in health care explored

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Harry Jacobson, M.D., speaks at Sotheby’s in New York City.
Photo by Tommy Lawson

Art’s role in health care explored

Vice Chancellor Harry Jacobson, M.D., joined other representatives of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in New York City for a Feb. 17 symposium, “The Value and Importance of Art in Health Care Settings,” organized by the VUMC Office of Cultural Enrichment and sponsored by VUMC, the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, and the auction house Sotheby's.

“Research has shown that the arts can be an important ally in health care,” Jacobson said. “Since 1983, when my predecessor, Dr. Ike Robinson, created VUMC's Office of Cultural Enrichment, clinical programs at Vanderbilt have benefited from increasingly vibrant and diverse arts programming. With this select gathering of speakers, VUMC and its partner sponsors have sought through this symposium to assist medical centers and the arts community in further establishing the role of the arts in patient care settings.”

Held at Sotheby's in Manhattan's Upper East Side, the symposium was capped by an evening reception, dinner and keynote address at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center.

The approximately 150 registrants at the symposium included health care administrators, physicians, artists and designers, curators, art therapists and others. Speakers delved into strategies for incorporating the arts in health care settings, the connection between the arts and healing, strategies for institutional acquisition of art and sculpture and how to fund this programming within health care.

The keynote address, “Art and Physics,” was delivered by author and physician Leonard Shlain, M.D., chairman of laparoscopic surgery at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and associate clinical professor of surgery at UCSF.

VUMC Director of Cultural Enrichment Donna Glassford, who organized the symposium, spoke in a joint presentation, “A Look at three Models of Art in Health Care Programs.”