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AMTA Working For You: Educating Music Therapists and the Public

May 8, 2015 08:08 AM


Emails from the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida, advertising their degree and certificate programs, have been circulated to AMTA members. Please be advised that AMTA did not provide names and addresses for this mailing. For a number of years, AMTA has been closely monitoring “arts in health,” which is also referred to as “arts in medicine,” or “arts in healthcare,” by attending the annual meetings of the national organization. This organization was founded in the early 1990s as the “Society for Arts in Healthcare,“ later changing its name to the “Global Alliance for Arts & Health,” and eventually calling itself the “Arts & Health Alliance.”  This organization ceased operations abruptly in late 2014.

AMTA clearly sees a role and value for “arts in health” and has worked cooperatively on coalition projects such as “Arts Advocacy Day,” sponsored by Americans for the Arts, and recent military and the arts summits. Related to the area of “arts and health,” however, we have major concerns about the lack of basic elements required of all professions; and efforts to develop and pilot test a “certification exam” to certify “artists in healthcare.”  Dr. Alicia Clair and Executive Director Andi Farbman wrote a comprehensive report detailing these concerns, which was posted on the AMTA website a year ago following the last and final annual meeting of the Arts & Health Alliance:​ation/

Alicia and Andi just returned from an invitational meeting (April 25-27) to explore strategic planning and possible formation of a new “arts and health” organization. As reported at the April meeting, in the 20 years of having an organization, there is no consensus on a definition of “arts and health”; and, most importantly, the following basic elements required for all professions do not exist: scope of practice, core competencies, curriculum standards, standards of practice, and code of ethics. Our concerns remain.  An updated summary report about the April meeting will be posted later this month.

In the meantime, please know that AMTA is working to ensure that patients, families, and administrators understand the differences between clinical music therapy provided by board certified music therapists, and arts in healthcare provided by artists; and how we work together. There are a number of collaborative best practice models throughout the country that we will be highlighting in the coming months to illustrate how creative arts therapists and artists in healthcare can and do work together to serve patients and families. Additionally, we will continue to express our concerns related to the lack of professional documents and the proposed “certification” exam in the arts and health arena.