What is the nature of your position at UTC?

I am the Executive Director of the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts, a unit under the College of Arts and Sciences with the mission of strengthening arts teaching and learning through community-based partnerships. We support all UTC teacher candidates in music, art, and theatre during their school residencies and field work experiences as well as provide training for majors wishing to become community-based teaching artists. The center functions as a hub of resources for our surrounding community of educators, teaching artists, and administrators that help them build quality arts-based programming based on their point of need.

Who are your community partners?

Adera Causey, Curator of Education from the Hunter Museum of American Art and Dr. Mukta Panda, Professor and Assistant Dean for Medical Student Education and Program Director for the Transitional Year Residency from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga.

What idea or need inspired this partnership?

All program partners realized the impact of an arts-based praxis on building practical skills for physicians-in-training and wanted to build a curriculum that strengthens understanding of social determinants and assessment of patient health while supporting physician well-being and resiliency.

What is the nature of your project?

We are collaborating on developing an interdisciplinary model in arts and medicine that can be disseminated and replicated in other physician training programs, both for practicing clinicians and students. Over the course of 12-month period, we co-facilitate two 3-hr sessions per 8-week rotation where 3rd and 4th year medical students visit the Hunter Museum and actively engage in visual exploration exercises, applied drama processes, and guided reflections that develop skill sets for decreasing physician burnout and strengthening interpersonal awareness when working with colleague and supporting patients’ needs. After each session, program partners reflect on what happened and make revisions as needed with the goal of developing a curriculum that can be replicated in other medical training programs in partnerships with museums.

What are some of your hopes/goals for this partnership?

This is our first year working on developing a year-long curriculum, and we hope this project will continue. We’re learning a lot, and it’s great to work with partners that are constantly thinking through how we can better support program goals. The emphasis on physician well-being and resiliency has been exciting to explore, and I think we’re starting to gain a lot of traction on how integrating arts-based praxis can support these important areas.

What would you want the broader community (both UTC and Chattanooga) to be aware of?

We are providing an innovative model that other medical programs can use to develop their own local arts-medical training partnerships. And we are developing modes for these practices to be used to develop additional programs for groups of practicing physicians who are looking to fine tune their skills in their reflective practice.

If you could say one thing about the partnership, what would it be?

Our partnership demonstrates the power and impact of having a shared vision and engaging in ongoing communication about how the program can better support participant needs.

Do you have any further needs for UTC involvement?

I would love to see this program expand into the School of Nursing and allied health as well as include researchers from other disciplines that could help us deepen the work and better understand what we’re achieving.



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