Arts and Health Grad Program is First in NJ

By Jon Darova, Contributing Writer

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Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks (Flickr)
Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks (Flickr)

Montclair State University introduced a graduate program to the School of Communication and Media, which is the “first of its kind” in New Jersey, according to the university website. The Office of Education and Community Outreach and Atlantic Health System (AHS) created the Arts and Health graduate program. It was finalized with the help of the Arts and Health Partnership (AHP), which formed in 2013.

The program is geared towards art research, training students in rehabilitating others through art. It also trains students to serve communities and social groups. Scientific studies have recently shown evidence that art is almost as effective in rehabilitation as pharmaceutical medication.

Dr. Christine Lemesianou, director of the program, said AHS “understand[s] how to manage arts-based programs in community and healthcare settings and use evidence-based methodologies to assess them.”

The graduate program was also implemented as a means of providing students who are passionate about art therapy with a new employment option. Concentrations are offered within the graduate program including marketing, health and ethical issues in arts and health, and cultural diversity and communities. The curriculum is geared toward guiding students into “future employment within arts based health programs and development of more efficient practices” according to the AHS website.

Students are offered five three-credit graduate level courses. The university then facilitates the observation of students who are nearing graduation to work at a medical location approved by the university. AHS also provides assistance with the search of a location for on-site training.

Students can also register for individual courses geared toward education, without the need for pursuing the certification. The five courses are: Foundations, Applications, Special Topics, Program Administration, Management and Assessment and Practicum in Arts and Health.

“Montclair State University’s College of the Arts has truly embraced this growing field, and we are proud to partner with them,” said Maria Lupo, manager of the healing arts department at AHS.

Lupo also claims that the program will “develop basic competency in the implementation of arts and health initiatives in care and community settings, and the necessary skills to interface successfully with all stakeholders in healthcare and community environments.”

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