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Arts and Health Australia

Dr Gary Christenson

Dr Gary ChristensonDr. Gary Christenson is director of Mental Health at Boynton Health Service, adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Christenson is the current President of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, Washington DC. and past co-chair of the Midwest Arts in Healthcare Network. He is a collector of miniature Japanese woodblock prints and previously served as the president of the Minneapolis Japanese print club as well as a member of the steering committee of the Asian Arts Council at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Dr. Christenson is a self-taught artist, whose paintings portray the landscapes of northern Norway.

Five Reasons Why We Need the Arts in Medicine

Dr. Christenson's plenary session Five Reasons Why We Need the Arts in Medicine will review the roles that the arts can play in fostering healing in both healthcare and community settings: 1) art can make medical and nursing students better healthcare providers, 2) art can provide therapeutic benefits to patients, 3) art can assist in preventing disease, 4) art can improve the patient experience, and 5) art can promote doctor and nurse well being. Examples will illustrate the varied ways that art has proved itself to be an ally of medicine such as improving skills with a stethoscope, decreasing the need for medication during medical procedures, improving patient mobility, increase public awareness of heart health and HIV/AIDs, and balancing the stressful life of the health professional.