College of Fine Arts conjoins lecture series with Dell Medical School

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Photo Credit: Isabella Palacios | Daily Texan Staff

The College of Fine Arts will host a lecture series to better relate how degrees in the fine arts can be applied to health care reform.

The lecture series is intended to expand the ways in which art degrees can be applied to health care, according to Holly Williams, associate dean for College of Fine Arts. Each speaker will address applications of art, such as design, dance and music therapy, to different fields of health care reform.

“With the Dell Medical School coming up, it seemed like a smart and interesting idea for our students to start thinking about the kinds of things that intersect these areas,” Williams said. “A lot of them are interested in these areas anyway. They just don’t know that there are applications.”

Guest lecturer Stacey Chang, an independent strategic advisor to entities trying to change health care, will discuss how design affects the health care environment, such as the psychological effects of hospital lighting on patients, according to Williams.

“He believes there’s potential for rethinking a lot of things that we just take for granted,” Williams said.

Guest lecturer David Leventhal is the program director for Brooklyn-based dance studio Dance for PD, which he helped found to better treat people living with Parkinson’s disease. Patients partake in therapeutic dance classes which help alleviate the pain the disease causes, according to Williams.

“Parkinson’s patients feel so trapped in their bodies, that this is a way for them to feel like their bodies are still working with them as opposed to against them,” Williams said.

Dance and economics freshman Lizzy Tan said she has an interest in health reform as a fine arts student. In 2013, she hosted a dance benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association, and she has volunteered at nursing homes throughout her life.

“I have always had a strong interest in nonprofit work, and I am very interested in how the arts can be used to provide therapy for certain people,” Tan said.

Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said the lecture series is meant to inform students of the possibilities to apply their art degrees to practical fields, such as health care.

“We are looking into ways that enhance health care,” Dempster said. “We’re not rushing into them, but this lecture series will help explore those possibilities.” 

The series will begin next Wednesday at the Bass Lecture Hall.