In service to our nation’s military servicemembers, the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health have announced plans to expand the telehealth component of Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network to Indianapolis’ Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center.
Creative Forces is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs as well as state and local arts agencies to provide access to creative arts therapies — art, music and dance/movement therapies, as well as creative writing instruction —for servicemembers and veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Through telehealth, creative arts therapists connect with patients in rural and remote places via video conferencing platforms.
According to Indiana Arts Commission executive director Lewis Ricci, "This program delivers art therapy services to veterans, especially those in the rural most parts of our state, and opens the door for partnerships with community arts providers to be of service to this important population."
In February 2019, a report was released in The Arts in Psychotherapy about telehealth and how the creative arts therapies can improve access to care, particularly for participants who experience health disparities due to distance or disability. Additional research associated with Creative Forces as well as key clinical research findings are available at arts.gov.
Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center is one of three veteran-serving telehealth sites selected to join Creative Forces and the Rural Veterans TeleRehabilitation Initiative, in collaboration with the Veterans Health Administration Office of Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Service and National Program Office, Recreation Therapy Service, as the newest telehealth sites. Once arrangements are finalized, creative arts therapists at each site will work with patients in rural and remote areas using secure internet video.
“This Creative Forces expansion is an important part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ efforts to increase access to the arts for all Americans, especially to our veterans and those in rural communities,” said National Endowment for the Arts chairman Mary Anne Carter.
“Telehealth can be a hugely important tool in connecting rural veterans with the care they need,” said Dr. Thomas Klobucar, VA Office of Rural Health executive director. “Our partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts adds an entirely new dimension of care to our Rural Veterans TeleRehabilitation Initiative, allowing us to treat the whole veteran regardless of where they live.”