The Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester Medical Center will partner on an initiative to innovate connections between health and the arts.
Eastman Performing Arts Medicine (EPAM), the first program of its kind in Upstate New York, will expand existing clinical services, arts integration and research to transform arts-related health care delivery and scientific understanding of the interactions between the arts and health.
“We are pleased to partner with Eastman School of Music to launch the Eastman Performing Arts Medicine initiative,” URMC CEO Mark Taubman said in a statement Wednesday. “This program is close to my heart. It blends my personal passions for medicine and the performing arts into a program that benefits musicians and general patients alike.”
To develop the program, EPAM leaders consulted with national experts in performing arts medicine, including Todd Frazier, president of the National Organization for Arts in Health.
“One of the prerequisites for a successful arts-in-health program is a first-class arts and medical community,” Frazier said. “Rochester, through the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester Medical Center, has that solidly in place. EPAM has built a two-way bridge between the institutions to foster innovative collaborations in caring, caregiving, learning and research.”
To streamline access to clinical care, EPAM has launched a hotline to connect performers with health care specialists within 48 hours.
“We’re well aware that the show must go on,” said Ralph Manchester M.D., who is vice provost and director of University Health Services, as well as president of the Performing Arts Medicine Association. “Performing artists who are dealing with a problem that’s interfering with their ability to perform deserve the same level of medical expertise that injured athletes receive.”
Specialists will work closely with performers to develop treatment plans, and EPAM clinicians will treat a range of conditions affecting performance, including chronic overuse injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and vocal fold nodules.
“Singers, actors and professional voice users require a special team that understand and can address their unique health care needs,” said John Ingle M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and specialist in URMC’s Voice Center. “We have built the UR Medicine Voice Center with that comprehensive team to address these needs.”
EPAM will not limit its clinical operations to treating performers, officials said. One of the program’s goals is to increase music and creative arts therapy services for performers and others.
Music and creative arts therapy, when delivered by credentialed health professionals, encompass various clinical, evidence-based interventions that address patients’ physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. Pediatric patients have received music therapy services at URMC for more than two decades, but EPAM aims to increase creative arts therapy at Golisano Children’s Hospital and extend services to adult patients as well.
“There is strong evidence supporting the clinical benefits of music and other creative arts therapies,” said URMC Faculty Group CEO Michael Rotondo M.D.
EPAM hosts regular solo and ensemble performances by Eastman faculty, students and alumni in the lobbies and entrances to Strong Memorial Hospital, Wilmot Cancer Institute and Flaum Atrium. EPAM aims to add performance opportunities throughout URMC and its affiliates and has piloted performances in the department of psychiatry, with plans to bring musicians to Highland Hospital soon, officials said.