Student Stories

 

Kimberly Kirklin
Director, UAB’s Institute for Arts in Medicine & Education Curation for the Alys Stephens Center
Alumna, Center for Arts in Medicine Masters Program

 

As a trained performer and an arts administrator for the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center (ASC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), I have seen the arts positively affect lives first-hand. I know how the arts can impact a young person exploring communication through theatre. I have watched children make academic connections and gain self-confidence by writing and performing poetry, and I have observed a community of people support one another creatively and emotionally while working collaboratively to create a quilt.

As the ASC expanded into the realm of arts in medicine, I became aware of the pioneering work of the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine and Shands Arts in Medicine. Over the past two years I have had the pleasure of learning from the passionate, gifted, and gracious staff through trainings, professional development, and the graduate certificate program. The program has reignited my passion for learning and has given me the confidence to promote the field of arts in medicine in my community. At the time I began the certificate program the ASC was completing an arts in medicine pilot project in partnership with UAB Hospital. Its success led to the creation of UAB’s Institute for Arts in Medicine which was developed, in part, by knowledge gained through the program.

As I continue into UF’s Master of Arts in Arts in Medicine I feel empowered to continue local dialogues that could ultimately shift the paradigm of healing which focuses primarily on the body, to one that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit.


 

Lisa Swanson
Arts in Medicine Practitioner
Alumna, Center for Arts in Medicine Masters Program




The Online Graduate Certificate Arts in Medicine program is an excellent program and has literally changed my life. When I started the program I did not have art experience in a healthcare environment; my art experience was in teaching and in ministry. I have found that the online flexible program’s curriculum is designed for students with different backgrounds and levels of experience. The curriculum, combined with the interaction from the excellent instructors and other students with varied levels of experience, prepared me for a professional practice in arts in medicine.

The career specific healthcare and art curriculum equipped me with valuable knowledge to enter the medical environment during my practicum experience. Within a few weeks of facilitating patient bedside art in the hospital, passion and compassion, was unlocked in me. I found I loved facilitating art one on one with the patient. Every time I entered a patient’s room it was exciting to see and experience how the creative flow brought wellness to the patient in a variety of ways. This fueled my passion for a career in Arts in Medicine.

My experience through the program has developed new levels of understanding and creativity within me with fresh perspective in my own personal art practice. I am a ceramic sculptor and through the course readings, assignments and practicum experience I have started to create ceramic tile healing wall art installations created by the patients during bedside art. Through an ongoing creative flow and understanding of self-care and creative activity I have found a new freedom in my art and in exploring other art mediums.

I highly recommend the online degree experience in Arts in Medicine. I am looking forward to pursuing my Masters Degree in Arts in Medicine once the online degree opens up at the University of Florida.


 

Emily Pozek
Dancer in Residence, UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine
Alumna, Center for Arts in Medicine Masters Program

 

I always knew that I wanted to continue my education, but I wasn’t sure exactly how or what field I wanted to enter. During my undergraduate work, I got involved with Arts in Medicine at UF. It was life changing. Dance has always been an interest, but it wasn’t until I began working with Arts in Medicine and used dance with new communities of people that I found my true passion.

The master’s program challenged me to employ critical thinking, real-world application, and problem-solving. The curriculum allowed me to deepen my work with Dance for Life, a class that I teach for people with Parkinson’s disease. Throughout the two years of the program, I applied the concepts we discussed in class to my work with dancers and improved my instructional approach.

The structure of the coursework is completely online, but the program itself is personal. Because the degree is offered virtually, it allowed me to work alongside many different artists from all over the country. I worried that since the program was online I would miss the face-to-face connections with my classmates and teachers. However, the program is designed to foster close connections with peers, and my classmates became friends and fellow artists.

The support from the faculty and students was incredibly rewarding, helping me expand my creative practices. I’ve always considered myself a dancer and a mover, but never a visual artist. With encouragement from the teachers and my peers throughout the program, I challenged myself to explore new mediums in art and learn new skills.

During my studies, my relationships with both the faculty and students were pivotal to my experience. The program helped me create unique friendships and mentorships with knowledgeable and world-renowned faculty members. Their support and guidance throughout the program were a huge boost to my success. My fellow classmates were an inspiration to me as well. They all brought a different voice into our discussions, allowing us to problem-solve, think critically, and build a new understanding about the world of Arts in Medicine. I feel fortunate to be a part of this group of individuals, and the friendships and partnerships I made through this program are ones I will have for the rest of my life.


 

Barbara Steinhaus
Music Department Chair, Brenau University
Alumna, Center For Arts in Medicine Graduate Certificate Program

 

Understanding why you have a passion for the arts is a big subject that has to do with the environment and cultural development of humankind; it is wonderful to study. How the arts can serve others is also a story that needs learning and telling. But discovering that the arts work as regenerative agents for humans both ill and healthy and that they help us truly care for ourselves and one another is too great a treasure to be left in the margins of academia. Arts in Medicine at UF brings this front and center with tenderness, intelligence, and vitality.