Houston Methodist Hospital recently received a BCA10 Award from the The Business Committee for the Arts for its enduring commitment to providing an artistic respite for patients and employees.
As part of the Americans for the Arts organization, BCA recognizes 10 organizations annually for “exceptional involvement with the arts that enriches the workplace, education and the community.” For two decades, Houston Methodist has gone above and beyond to offer specialized health care to artists and to bring live music, creative writing, photography classes and more to patients and employees through the Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM) under the helm of director J. Todd Frazier.
“It’s an honor to be recognized in this way,” Frazier said. “For years we have been the bridge between a major hospital and the artistic community. We have worked hard to integrate arts in the hospital throughout the day for employees to take the time to relax and to be inspired, and for patients and guests.”
Twenty years ago, CPAM founder Richard Stasney, M.D., started the organization with the goal of providing quality health care to artists. Today, the program has grown to also integrate art—music, photography, writing and music therapy—into the very fabric of the hospital’s operations.
“CPAM is truly a differentiator for Houston Methodist for how we lead medicine,” said Carole Hackett, senior vice president of human resources at Houston Methodist. “The largest impact it has is how it enriches and elevates our culture—it helps us to create an exceptional environment of healing through the use of visual and performance art, our research and our therapy.”
On any given day you can walk into the Crain Garden at Houston Methodist and hear beautiful live music from pianists, jazz bands, flutists and more.
“Imagine walking into a hospital and hearing live piano music,” Hackett said. “It’s very soothing. It’s unusual to hear live music in a hospital environment. We are fortunate to have Margaret Alkek Williams support our Crain Garden Concert Series, which features more than 150 performances a year from choirs, orchestras, high school bands and professional artists.”
In addition to the Crain Garden Concert Series, pianists perform daily at Houston Methodist’s satellite hospitals.
“All of our hospitals have live performances in their lobby,” Hackett said. “You will see employees stop as they walk through the hallway to stop and enjoy the music. You will see patients come down, being brought by their family members to listen. It is amazing to look at their faces and see if we can relieve a little bit of their pain or discomfort by listening to music. It makes a world of difference, and our patient experience surveys reflect that.”
Beyond providing soothing and inspirational music to patients and employees and caring for artists, CPAM also has a robust music therapy program that can help patients recover from a wide variety of ailments. The program is currently being used at Houston Methodist Hospital in the inpatient rehabilitation unit and psychiatric unit and at Houston Methodist St. Catherine Hospital, a long-term acute-care facility.
Houston Methodist is continually ranked among the top hospitals in the United States by organizations like U.S. News & World Report and Americans for the Arts, and its commitment to caring for patients and employees as a whole may have something to do with that success.
“We are privileged and honored to be recognized as one of the top 10 organizations in the country that actually enrich the workplace as a result of integration of arts,” Hackett said. “It is nice to get awards, but our real award is seeing how it positively impacts our patients and employees so we can be leading medicine.”
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