Washington, D.C. - Counselors, physical therapists, dancers, nurses, social workers and patients alike will join forces with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center this Friday, October 31, to make leaps and bounds- literally- in the development of dance therapy curricula for wellness programs across the world. The Arts and Humanities Program at Lombardi at Georgetown University Medical Center will host its International Symposium on Dance in Healthcare, bringing together experts in dance in healthcare for the first time to explore issues related to the field.
The symposium will feature interactive performances and demonstrations from practitioners from the U.S. and Northern Ireland. Presenters will share dance curriculum and assessment models with participants, in addition to offering suggestions for the implementation of dance in healthcare programs. Attendees will receive a copy of "Lombardi Moves," a curriculum designed for cancer patients that encourages stress reduction, muscle toning, and flexibility. The event begins at 10 a.m. and a full schedule of events is available here.
The Arts and Humanities Program has conducted substantial research on the effects of arts programs in patient recovery. In February, a Lombardi study showing the benefits of expressive writing during cancer treatment was published in The Oncologist, and while Lombardi has not conducted research on the relationship between dance and health, Nancy Morgan, MA. director of the Arts and Humanities Program at Lombardi, believes the effects are overwhelmingly positive.
"We thrive on anecdotal evidence from our patients, who give us very positive feedback about the emotional and physical benefit they feel after a dance/movement session. People confined to bed or sitting all day for their infusion treatment are grateful for the music, increased flexibility and energy, and personal attention from a professional outside the field of oncology," says Morgan.
According to the American Cancer Society, dance therapy has proven to provide patients a number of benefits, including the development of body image and self-esteem; reductions in stress, chronic pain, and body tension; and an increase in communication skills and feelings of well being.
This meeting of minds comes as the latest advancement in Lombardi's continued efforts to creatively approach wellness, expression and personal growth within the context of personal illness.
"Lombardi is delighted to host this dance symposium. Nancy Morgan's leadership has placed Lombardi at the forefront of cancer centers that recognize, value and study the ways by which immersion in the fine arts can contribute to the well being of cancer patients and their caregivers. The addition of dance offers continued evidence of our commitment to the concept of cura personalis, with the focus on the whole person and not just an illness," says Louis Weiner, director of Lombardi Cancer Center.
Presenters at the symposium include:
- Jenny Elliot, Artist in Residence, ArtsCare of Northern Ireland
- Ann Behrends, PT, NCTMB, CFP, Aerial Dance
- Jill Roberts Piscatella, Founder, Lombardi Moves; Director, D.A.R.E. P.L.U.S., Dance Program and Youth Advisory Board
- Jill Sonke, Faculty, School of Theater and Dance, University of Florida
- Daniel Burkholder, Director and Choreographer, The Playground
- Sarah Clark-Hamel, Outreach Coordinator, Georgetown University Dancers
About Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), home to 60 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.