National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military E-News

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December 2016 E-News

From the National Initiative Directory

The National Initiative Directory includes nine new listings! 

Updated monthly, the Directory is an online resource that features artists, arts organizations, public and private healthcare facilities and professionals, researchers, funders, and Veteran arts programming for Veterans actively engaged in advancing the arts for the health and well-being of our servicemembers, Veterans, their families, and caregivers. 

Submit a listing on behalf of your arts and military program!

Featured Listings

  • Veterans Art Project and Combat Arts San Diego 
    The San Diego area is home to outstanding examples of community partnerships with educational institutions, museums, businesses, and the VA. Read more about two of our Directory listings.
  • The Art League of Arlington, VA is home to the IMPart which connects returning injured military personnel with transformative art experiences for creative enrichment, relaxed social engagement, redevelopment of fine motor skills, and expressive catharsis. IMPart is a partnership between the Art League, Fort Belvoir's Warriors in Transition Unit B, the USO of Washington Metro, and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence for patients dealing with TBI, PTS, and other psychological health conditions. Fort Belvoir has been chosen as an NEA Creative Forces clinical site.

From the Field: Spotlight on National Events

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival 

The 2016 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF) was hosted by the GV Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center of Jackson, MI at Thalia Mara Hall in October. More than 120 Veterans participated in this showcase of the arts, participating in the Art Exhibit, the new Creative Writer's Meet & Greet, and the Stage Show. Veterans engaged in week-long workshops, community excursions, and social activities. The annual event is presented by the American Legion Auxiliary and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The common thread in the NVCAF is "art saved my life"—reinforcing the necessity of arts-based therapies for our Veterans. For information on 2017 local and state competitions leading to the NVCAF, read more.  

To view two very special videos from the 2016 NVCAF:  

NEA Creative Forces:  Military Healing Arts Network 

On October 25, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) announced the expansion of their ongoing partnership into Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. The expanded Creative Forces program places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at 10 additional clinical sites and increases access to therapeutic arts activities in local communities for military members, Veterans, and their families. The program is also investing in research on the impacts and benefits of these innovative treatment methods. Since 2011, this military healing arts partnership has supported creative arts therapies for service members with traumatic brain injury and associated psychological health issues at two military medical facilities in the Washington, DC, area—the NICoE at Walter Reed Bethesda in Maryland, and the NICoE Intrepid Spirit-1 at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. In FY 2016, Congress appropriated a $1.928 million budget increase for the NEA, specifically allocated to expand this military healing arts program. 

  • Americans for the Arts is proud to administer the Creative Forces expansion effort. For more information, read more. 
  • The Washington Post recently highlighted the work taking place at the Creative Forces flagship program at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Walter Reed Bethesda. Read more.  

VA Arts, Health, & Well-being Pilot Project: Arts and Humanities Conferences 

This October and November, the Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation (OPCC&CT) at the VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas, along with the Greater Los Angeles VA, officially launched Phase II of the VA Arts, Health & Well-being Pilot Project, with partners Americans for the Arts and Johnson & Johnson. In conjunction with this launch, 17 regional VA systems sent three-person, diverse healthcare teams to the conferences. The training sessions were designed to engage participants in developing an understanding on how the arts and humanities can be integrated into, and ultimately evaluated as a component of, the OPCC & CT Health for Life model at represented sites. Over the next several months, these teams will be working on conducting a facility asset/needs survey and developing action plans for increasing programs and partnerships in the arts and humanities at their sites. For information on the plan to expand the arts and humanities in patient-centered care planning within the VA, read more.     

The Second National Roundtable for Arts, Health & Well-being across the Military Continuum 

The National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military (NIAHM) hosted its second National Roundtable on November 30 at Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall, VA to discuss how to bring greater access to the arts and creative arts therapies for military service members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers. Approximately 40 leaders from the military, Veteran, and public and private sectors helped benchmark progress on the recommendations from NIAHM's seminal 2013 report, Arts, Health, and Well-being Across the Military Continuum – White Paper and Framing a National Plan for Action;engaged in discussion; and recommended strategies that will lay the groundwork for the NIAHM's next Blueprint for Action 2017– 2020. The keynote address was delivered by Lt. Gen. Martin Steele, Director of the Office of Military Partnerships at the University of South Florida/Tampa, and host of the 2017 National Summit, taking place at USF/Tampa February 2–5, 2017.  Read more.

State and Local Advocacy 

Senior Director of Arts Policy at Americans for the Arts Marete Wester spoke on behalf of the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military at the National Lt. Governor's Association Business Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ on December 1, along with Laura Krejci, Associate Director of the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation at the Department of Veteran's Affairs. On December 7, Wester joined colleague Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts Jay Dick at the National Association of Counties RAC Symposium in Tallahassee, FL, where she delivered the luncheon keynote, focusing on the National Initiative and grassroots arts and military and Veteran programs taking place across the country. The session with county elected officials highlighted the county role in providing critical services for rural America, to include arts opportunities and programming for rural Veterans.

From the Hill:  Federal Advocacy

Congress Is Back and Funding Decisions Are Still Uncertain  

Key funding and policy decisions remain up in the air as Congress enters its "lame duck" session. As we've shared before, the proposed funding block on some military band performances is one of the decisions Congress still hasn't finalized—and likely now won't for some time. This is because Congress is choosing to have President-Elect Trump give input on funding decisions, rather than finishing FY 2017 work this month. This delay allows more time to renegotiate key funding when the new Congress and administration take office in January.

Departing House Member Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) Addresses AMSUS  

The Society of Federal Health Professionals (AMSUS) featured Rep. Heck during its annual meeting in November. As current Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, he discussed military health spending and the need to provide more trained and ready providers for service members, retirees, and family members in the Military Health System. Read more.


What We're Reading: Books for Military Families

Goodnight Marines by David R. Dixon is perfect for Marine families. The best-selling children's book about the United States Marine Corps is illustrated by a Disney artist and written by an active duty Marine.
Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut is a story that connects the family of a deployed soldier through a nightly game of catch with the North Star.

Resources & Research

Two new resources were published recently that help quantify the value of art therapy in the treatment of combat-related PTSD and TBI related injuries.


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