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The College of Fine Arts offers new Arts in Health Graduate Certificate

Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts is now offering a new Arts in Health Graduate Certificate aimed at teaching current practices and research in the growing field of arts in health. The certificate will provide students with the knowledge and experiences of how the arts have measurable positive and long-lasting effects on a person’s health and well-being.  

“The Arts in Health field continues to grow and enhance the well-being of communities,” Matthew Shaftel, Ph.D., dean of the College of Fine Arts, said. “By providing our students with an opportunity to learn more about such a critical field through this certificate program, we are ensuring that our students understand what an integral part art can play in public health, medical education, treatment, prevention and more.” 

The Arts in Health certificate at OHIO allows any graduate student to learn a breadth of foundational concepts related to fine arts in health theory, practice and research. Throughout their study, students will learn about visual art, dance, theater, music, film or philosophy as it relates to health and experience quality community arts in health practices. All certificate classes are offered online either through Athens Online or eCampus, except for some elective choices.  

“As a fine artist and music therapist myself, I have always believed and witnessed firsthand that if a person experiences the fine arts in some way, whether it be through passively listening, actively engaging in a fine arts experience, or receiving clinical therapy from a trained creative art therapist, that person’s health and well-being certainly benefit,” Kamile Geist, Ph.D., professor of music therapy and director of the Arts in Health certificate, said. “As a society, we are so fortunate that the evidence of this impact is prolific in the literature. In fact, recently the World Health Organization announced its position about the health benefits of the fine arts.”  

According to the World Health Organization’s Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report 67, and supported by results from over 3,000 studies, “The arts support the prevention of ill health, promotion of health, and management and treatment of illness across the lifespan.”   

Upon completion of the certificate, students will have knowledge of how the fine arts can impact health for a variety of public health communities, will have experienced on-site observation and practice in a community-based arts in health setting, and will be prepared to apply their experiences and concepts learned to their other graduate programs or current work.  

“Through this certificate program, we assist in pairing students with arts in health field practices applied in settings local to each student,” Angela Sprunger, co-coordinator of the Arts in Health program, said. “Students will gain a foundational understanding of how the arts impacts public health in real and meaningful ways.” 

Sprunger’s summer course, IART 5802 Arts in Health Community Project, is designed to connect students to volunteer engagements with organizations such as hospitals, community arts programs, mental health service providers, disability services, nursing homes, addiction recovery services, and emotional behavior services while meeting with their cohort of classmates and their professor weekly. 

“Students who have earned this innovative and unique certificate will stand out to future employers due to their novel experiences and breadth of knowledge about how participating in quality fine arts practices are integral to the prevention of illness and promotion of well-being across the lifespan,” Geist said. 

More information about the online/hybrid Arts in Health Certificate for graduate students can be found here. Questions about the program can be addressed to Geist at 

February 9, 2022
Staff reports