The research aim of IAM will be conduct prospective clinical trials to assess the benefits of various forms of art therapy, first on cancer patients at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (NCC) of the University of Southern California (USC), later addressing other patient populations, such as those with neurological disorders. The plan is to evaluate the clinical impact of different art forms (music, painting, poetry, therapeutic dramatic arts, comedy etc.) and expression/application media (virtual reality, interactive, group etc.) of art therapy on the health of patients receiving treatment at USC hospitals. 

We propose intra and inter-disciplinary research efforts to improve in- and outpatient care involving faculty and students representing various schools of USC. Patients undergoing standard of care therapies in the hospital setting will be given the opportunity to participate in an arts immersive approach to improving quality of life by addressing pain, anxiety, depression, resilience, and fatigue, which should lead to better clinical outcomes.

The beneficial impact of arts integrated therapies for cancer patients has been shown in a number of studies but the value in making such assessments in a controlled environment will yield more objective results, presenting fewer variables than in cancer patients who are well enough to receive treatment from home. This proposed research plan is the logical extension of the aforementioned studies, many of which have encouraged further evaluation based on positive results. By exploring the effects of art therapy in a clinical setting at the USC Norris Cancer Hospital and the LA County Medical Center, we have the opportunity to correct many of the shortcomings of previous studies. 

Due to the wide range of creative programs offered at USC, we will be able to explore various modalities of art exposure and to:

  1. Establish more meaningful control groups.

  2. Achieve better quantifications of outcome variables due to better treatment and environmental standardization.

  3. Expand study populations to explore the effects of interventions in groups with diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

  4. Determine unexplored effects such as how increased compliance and duration of therapy might result from improved morale among patients.

  5. Provide access to treatment follow-ups to any longer-term effects of art intervention on treatment outcomes.

Research continued…

  1. Function as a center of excellence for research with practical application incorporating arts, music, and media into clinical care.

  2. Measure individual patient satisfaction through the administering of surveys and quality of life (QOL) assessments.

  3. Conduct larger prospective studies with the participation of students, faculty and any partnering agencies.

  4. Apply for research grants in public and private sectors for IAM’s continued growth and improvement.

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