University of Alabama at Birmingham: Veterans invited to participate in pilot program exploring creative and expressive arts

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A pilot program offers weekly virtual workshops for veterans to explore creative and expressive writing, visual art, mindful movement and more.

The program is born from a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Arts in Medicine and the Birmingham VA Health Care System’s Whole Health initiative.

The virtual workshops began Sept. 7 and will continue weekly starting at 10 a.m. through Nov. 9. Participants will gather in a no-judgment space and participate in expressive writing and trauma-informed story-sharing to support wellness.

This program is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Creative Forces program, which is committed to improving the well-being of service members, veterans, caregivers and their families through creativity and community, and Mid-America Arts Alliance, the regional arts organization for Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

A partnership between UAB Medicine and UAB Visual and Performing Arts, AIM underscores UAB’s commitment to patient-centered care. Started in 2013, the program provides services on a rotating schedule to a growing number of UAB Medicine units. AIM strives to transform the care environment and enhance well-being and healing through creative arts experiences for patients, families and staff. Integrating the arts into the health care environment has been shown to benefit patients and caregivers by reducing stress levels and perceived pain, improving mood, distracting from medical problems, and increasing self-expression and self-confidence.

Like AIM, VA Whole Health supports patient-centered, whole-person care and provides resources to support everyone in their journey toward optimum health. It empowers people through mindful awareness and self-care, recognizing the fundamental importance of healthy nutrition, activity, sleep, relationships, surroundings, and the many other areas that contribute to health and wholeness.

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