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Music Therapy Highlights: NIH-Sponsored Third National Summit on Military & Arts

March 4, 2015 12:47 PM


militarysummit2JokeDr. Joke Bradt, Associate Professor, music therapist, and research scholar, at Drexel University, presented the opening plenary speech for the “Third National Summit: Advancing Research in the Arts for Health and Well-being across the Military Continuum” held on February 27, 2015, featuring her NIH-sponsored research on chronic pain and vocal music therapy. The summit was hosted by Americans for the Arts, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health/National Institutes of Health (formally NCCAM)/NIH), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

AMTA proudly headed a delegation of more than 25 music therapy professionals, representing AMTA’s two scholarly journals; NIH-funded music therapy researchers; music therapists’ research and practice at Veterans Health Administration facilities; and music therapists in private practice, in hospitals, in the community, at military health facilities, and at academic centers nationwide. AMTA provided outreach information at the meeting and distributed copies of the AMTA white paper on military and music therapy (

militarysummit3Dr. Bradt did an outstanding job of explaining her research, as well as differentiating the role of the MT-BC from that of artists in healthcare. In addition to Dr. Bradt’s plenary talk, music therapist Rebecca Vaudreuil, who is on a temporary assignment at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) and at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, MD, provided an informative small group presentation on the role of songwriting and music therapy, “Creative Arts Therapies in Interdisciplinary Care at NICoE Facilities.”  Rebecca is serving as visiting music therapist during the maternity leave of music therapist Julie Garrison, who founded the music therapy program at NICoE and WRNMMC.

militarysummit1Numerous speakers at the Summit noted how the arts and music have always been a part of military culture in a variety of ways. What distinguished this NIH Summit is the recognition that music therapists and other creative arts therapists have been conducting important research relevant to the interests of military populations and health providers at VA and military health facilities. The arts and creative arts therapies were characterized by Captain Moira McGuire, at Walter Reed as a “must have” rather than a “nice to have.”

AMTA staff and members successfully advocated for the unique value of board certified music therapists to numerous NIH, NEA, NEH, and VA officials as well as to other administrators and gatekeepers.

A report and recommendations based on the Summit is expected to follow in the coming months.

Information online regarding the Americans for the Arts and the “National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military” can be found at