Arts in Medicine Fellowship Wraps Up

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Yinka Olatunbosun

The words “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life’’ were eye-catching inscriptions on the back of almost all the t-shirts worn by the fellows of the 2019 Arts in Medicine (AIM)Fellowship as they converged on the Sickle Cell Foundation building at Idi-Araba, Lagos, recently. They hold true of the role that Arts in Medicine has played across the globe in bringing succor to patients.

AIM fellowship has been a meeting ground for students and professionals in Arts and Healthcare to share ideas on the application of arts for therapeutic functions. Songwriting, storytelling, dance therapy, bed side artistry including origami were deployed by the volunteers with help from hospital staff to assist patients with long-term illnesses.

For 16 weeks, 100 changemakers participated in the extensive mentorship program to bring creative engagements to patients in transforming their healthcare experience.

At the closing ceremony, the American Arts in Medicine Practitioner from the University of Florida, Sarah Hinds urged the volunteers who may wish to learn more about AIM to take advantage of the scholarship opportunities to advance their knowledge of the practice.

“Tender Arts Nigeria is becoming a world leader in the field of Arts in Health; my personal experience of working with their talented and enthusiastic fellows was nothing short of transformational,’’ she declared.

Tender Arts Nigeria launched Arts in Medicine Fellowship in 2018 with support of the United States Consulate, Lagos. The 2019 session took off in January and ended last month enjoying partnership with System Specs, Nigerian Health Watch, Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos amongst others.

The Founder, Arts in Medicine Fellowship, Kunle Adewale recounted how hospital beautification using giant size murals had contributed to making the hospitals a cheerful environment for health care workers and caregivers while uplifting the spirit of patients towards healing and happiness.

“I am glad this cohort made that happen through their collective efforts and diverse creative expressions. Arts in Medicine Fellowship is raising more leaders for Sustainable Development Goal 3, good health and well-being in Nigeria.

For the cohorts, this experience is a life-changing one. Ayo Tsalu, a dancer-choreographer expressed his appreciation of the interdependence of arts and medicine. A registered nurse, Femi Alo revealed how the fellowship has improved the professional-patient relationship.

“Using painting, singing and dancing skills, and even drops of humour have enhanced patients’ trust, cohesion and treatment compliance,’’ he said.

Another cohort, a visual artist Sope Olorunfemi admitted that the fellowship has enhanced his love for humanity.