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Arts in Health Program


The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Arts in Health Program is the latest component of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence's (NICoE) commitment to arts-based programming. NICoE has had creativity as a foundational component of its program since its inception, and the Arts in Health program has benefitted from NICoE's expertise as we establish our presence throughout the hospital. The mission of the Arts in Health Program is to provide multiple opportunities to engage with the arts to support the health and well-being of:

  • Patients with status of active duty, veteran, and/or retirees
  • Military families and dependents
  • Military caregivers and non-medical attendants
  • Staff
  • Students and interns
  • Visitors
  • Volunteers

The Arts in Health Program goals include establishing clinical programs and community projects.

  • Clinical Programs operate by embedding creative arts therapists within treatment clinics to integrate into multi-disciplinary teams. Current clinical programs include art therapy groups in the telepain program and Addiction Treatment Services.
  • Community Projects can be witnessed throughout the medical center, including live performances, art exhibits, and arts-based resiliency offerings for the entire Walter Reed community, including patients, staff, family members, and others beneficiaries

What's the Difference Between Arts in Health and Clinical Art Therapy?

Arts in Health programming and clinical creative arts therapies may both be provided by licensed creative arts therapists. Although there may be a great deal of overlap, the primary difference between Arts in Health and clinical creative arts therapy is that Arts in Health employs a wellness model as a guiding principle. Through this lens, Arts in Health is able to use strength-based approaches, which emphasize multiple areas of functioning and wellness, as well as coping.

Learn About the Arts in Health Program at the NICoE

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Creative Art Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Creative Art Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Mallory Van Fossen, creative art therapist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) and clinical coordinator of the Arts and Health Program, discusses the many ways she helps patients at the NICOE. The Arts and Health Program follows a wellness model instead of an illness model. This means that the therapy involves uses strength based programming with multiple areas of wellness and promotion of coping. By branching out with programs beyond the NICOE, the Arts and Health Program is able to treat patients in areas such as pain management and addictions treatment. Van Fossen provides art therapy at the NICoE, supports ongoing research projects, and oversees the provision of clinical arts and health services throughout the entire Walter Reed Military Medical Center. This involves strategic planning for programs and evaluations. March 13 to 19 is Creative Arts Therapy Week. To celebrate, the NICoE created videos highlighting a day in the life of some of our creative art therapists at the NICoE. This the first in a multipart series. Credit: NICoE

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The National Intrepid Center of Excellence | Arts in Health Program
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Last Updated: May 17, 2022

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