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Attending Clergy of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospitals to Host Symposium on ‘Healing In the Arts’

DALLAS — The Attending Clergy Association (ACA) of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospitals will host “Healing in The Arts,” a daylong educational program featuring Texas poet laureate Karla Morton, a high school chamber orchestra, cantor and professional photographer to help caregivers learn the role that the arts can play in healing and recovery.

“We want our hospitals to be environments where both caregivers and patients discover healing and wholeness,” said John Engelhard, senior chaplain for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospitals in Dallas, Denton, Plano, Kaufman and Allen. “To do that, we think it’s important to better understand how art can touch each person to awaken, inspire and renew the body, mind and spirit.”

“Healing in The Arts” will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 5, in Fogelson Forum at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. For the past sixteen years the ACA has gathered experts from many disciplines to discuss and explore matters that relate to health, faith and ethics. This year’s program brings together artists, religious leaders, and clinicians.

Special guests include Clare Cooper Marcus, whose designs of healing gardens create space for quiet; Morton, who wrote poetry during a healing time in her own life and is now the 2010 Poet Laureate of Texas; Kent Taylor, whose vivid photography of nature inspires and renews; and artist Pamela Nelson, whose artwork invites people into a healing meditative place.

During the symposium, guests will be exposed to other expressions of art as well. Cantor Don Croll, of Temple Shalom in Dallas, will explore healing music within the Jewish tradition, and Rod Armstrong, the minister of music at New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dallas, will talk about gospel music and healing within the African American tradition. Art therapist Betty Jo Troeger will offer a workshop on the many benefits of art therapy in healing. Cynthia Logan, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, will lead workshops on “Praying in Color.” And Dr. Robert Schwab, chief quality officer of Texas Health Allen and Texas Health Denton, will sing his original tunes for palliative care.

“The symposium will provide a time for soul searching and renewing moments while learning how the arts can be part of healing,” Engelhard said. “We think people will walk away from this event with a new appreciation for the role that the arts play in their own healing and wholeness, but also in the lives of the patients whom they serve.”

Creative engagements like painting, writing, and musical expression can positively impact emotions, along with attitudes and beliefs, Engelhard said. “That contributes to improved health and wellness for the patient. The arts also have been recognized as a way to bridge differences between different social and cultural groups, connecting people through the shared experience of music, art, literature and dance.”

The connection between creative arts and health outcomes has been the subject of much research in recent years. Scientists have begun to more deeply investigate whether there are positive effects from music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression and expressive writing.

In one study, researchers found that patients who wrote about their traumatic experiences had statistically significant improvements in various measures of physical health and better immune system function than those who did not write about their experiences.

“Through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing,” the authors wrote in the February 2010 edition of the American Journal of Public Health. “The more we understand the relationship between creative expression and healing, the more we will discover the power of the arts.”

Admission to the program, which includes lunch, is $25 for employees of Texas Health Resources or one of its hospitals, $25 for doctors and nurses, and $50 for all other attendees. For more information or to register, call Sarah Kelley at 214-345-4220.

About the Attending Clergy Association
The Attending Clergy Association was established in 1994 as an interfaith clergy organization for and with clergy within Texas Health Resources. The purpose of the organization is to provide continuing education opportunities for clergy, help bring clergy into Texas Health hospitals as an integral member of the healing team, and work together to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve. The ACA is made up of more than 320 clergy who serve communities throughout North Texas.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 898-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

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