Thanks to Everyone Who Helped Make this a Very Special Evening

Steven Safyer, MD President and CEO Montefiore Health System

Steven Safyer, MD
President and CEO
Montefiore Health System

On October 30th, the Foundation for Art & Healing proudly celebrated its 10th year anniversary by honoring Steven Safyer, MD, President and CEO of Montefiore Health System at the Harvard Club of New York.

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Founder and President of the Foundation, opened the evening by inviting the attendees to recall times in their own lives when creative arts helped them to deal with a challenging situation.

He informed the attentive NYC crowd that the birth of the Foundation was inspired by 9/11, which made clear the benefit of creative arts in helping children cope with that terrible event, and that he then realized could be broadened to become a major public health initiative to benefit all.

Mike Paseornek, President of Motion Picture Production of Lionsgate Films, spoke on the importance of stories in making sense of our lives and the world and connecting us to others. Susan Dentzer, Senior Policy Advisor of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Master of Ceremonies emphasized the powerful health improvement opportunities that creative expression can offer. Both shared personal experiences with creative expression and well-being that added a warm intimacy to the evening.

On hand was a diverse crowd of over 150 supporters including individuals from sponsoring hospital systems, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, museums, arts foundations, arts advocacy and media companies, as well as a host of artists, therapists, researchers and other “Foundation Friends.”

The video “Can Art Be Medicine” was shown and you can see it below. The program closed with Dr. Nobel providing a look towards 2015 when the Foundation will continue to pursue its mission to drive awareness that creative expression can improve health while simultaneously promoting research to demonstrate the positive results unequivocally.

This celebratory evening of shared warmth and imagination served as a reminder that all of us have open access to the power of creative expression to help and heal, and that the arts can deliver health and well-being to individuals and community in almost limitless ways!

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  • Montefiore Health System


  • Mount Sinai Doctors Faculty Practice


  • BrynWalker
  • Cigna
  • Emblem
  • GNYHA Ventures
  • Health Dialog
  • HealthFirst
  • Maimonides Medical Center
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Sudler


  • Celgene
  • Optum
  • Remo Drums
  • Sanofi
CLICK HERE to See Our Wonderful Benefit Committee
  • Jeffrey Becker
  • Mark Callahan
  • Ted Chapin
  • Jonathan Cohen
  • John Connolly
  • Susan Dentzer
  • Helene & Russell Ellison, MD
  • Christi & Bob Gabbay, MD, PhD
  • Maureen Gill
  • Les Gosule
  • Lisa Hahn
  • Rose Higgins
  • Rick Lee
  • Henry Loubet
  • Michelle Min & Bryan Walker
  • Michael Monson
  • Robert Murphy
  • Jeremy Nobel, MD
  • Deborah Obalil
  • Kevin O’Grady
  • Mary O’Hara Deveraux, PhD
  • Laurel Pickering
  • Lonnie Reisman, MD
  • Pamela Calloway & Mark Smith, MD
  • Jeri Rosenberg & Vic Strecher, PhD
  • Michael Weintraub
  • Laurie Alpert & Barry Weiss
  • Erinn White-Sullivan
  • Tom Williams, PhD
CLICK HERE to See the President's Message

Welcome to “Bridging Arts and Medicine”

With a global economy still moving slowly towards recovery, weather disasters signaling continued ecologic and climactic instability, human conflict inflicting misery on millions, and increasing burdens of a host of acute and chronic illnesses threatening individual health and wellness, there is no shortage of work to be done in bringing the benefits of creative arts expression forward.

In recognition of the need for global and individual health and wellbeing, I am delighted to welcome you this evening to increase awareness of the appealing and compelling results of expressing oneself through creative arts in all forms, celebrate progress on this important journey, and to honor Steven Safyer, MD, a distinguished leader in improving community health!

The Foundation for Art and Healing, now in its tenth year, is proud to be on the vanguard of arts and health, providing outreach and support domestically and internationally in this growing field, while also promoting the important scientific research that underpins these possibilities. In addressing the personal and social burden of trauma, we continue our close relationship with military medicine and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in exploring effective approaches to PTSD/TBI, support post-earthquake relief in Van, Turkey, and in response to challenges closer to home like Hurricane Sandy, the Sandy Hook tragedy and the Boston Marathon bombings, developed “Tools for Trauma”, an online distributed set of exercises for parents to use with children struggling to make sense of it all, and not feel as overwhelmed by anxiety and worry.

To continue our work in chronic illness and stress, and building on prior work done on Arts and the Heart, we have expanded into diabetes, a potentially devastating metabolic disorder that is increasing in prevalence worldwide. Diabetes is an appealing target for creative arts expression-based approaches since its effective treatment depends on directly engaging and supporting patients on a daily basis as they make the important lifestyle choices that literally can save their lives. Working with the renowned theater artist Robbie McCauley, we developed and tested an arts based “Creativity Circle” approach to support and educate African American women with diabetes, paving the way for moving art and healing into the mainstream of person-centered diabetes care.

The simple, creative arts-based engagement techniques and tools developed as part of this project can be delivered community wide in schools, workplaces, health centers, and places of worship, through easy-to-replicate programs—and all at low cost and respecting the needs and diversity of individual participants. Importantly, although starting with diabetes, this same “Creativity Circle” approach can be adapted to support people struggling with a range of challenges including other chronic illnesses, workplace stress, and even the burden of losing or caring for a loved one.

This work would not be possible without the supporters, partners and collaborators who fundamentally enable it. Steven Safyer, MD, this evening’s honoree, has welcomed and championed the ability for creative arts expression to make a difference in the lives of patients as well as in the lives of the people who care for them and care about them. His participation in our Arts and the Heart Roundtable, led to an invitation to work closely with the remarkable human resources, health and wellness, and medical professionals at Montefiore to bring the benefit of creative arts not just to patients, but to employees and staff. That effort has grown and flourished at Montefiore, bringing important support to many on the “front-lines”, even as they care for others. At every step along the way, Dr Safyer has held the “big vision” of health, recognizing that it is more than the absence of illness, but the achievement of a full and balanced blending of physical, behavioral and social wellbeing. For Dr Safyer’s important and timely support, commitment and leadership in linking arts and medicine, I am personally indebted, and delighted to have him be this year’s honoree.

In closing, I welcome you to this evening of awareness and celebration, deeply grateful for the opportunity for the Foundation to do its work. I look forward to continuing our journey together with each of you, as we move towards 2015 and beyond!

All the best to you in creative expression and health,

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH
President and Founder
Foundation for Art and Healing
Brookline, Massachusetts

Short Film: Can Art be Medicine?

More on the event’s Flickr Page


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