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National Endowment for the Arts Grant Awarded to Department of Neurology

D-H Creative Arts Team

This funding opportunity will open the opportunity for our epilepsy patients to benefit from in-person and online interactions with artists to explore aspects of illness that are not addressed adequately by traditional pharmaceutical and surgical care.

Principal investigator Lara Ronan, MD, Director of the Neurology Residency Program at D-H and an associate professor of Neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College
From left: Samantha Wiebkin, Marv Klassen-Landis, Margaret Stephens, Marianne Barthel, Lara Ronan, MD

Can creative arts interventions help epilepsy patients to reduce distress and improve their quality of life? Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) hopes to find out with a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which the Department of Neurology at D-H has matched.

“This funding opportunity through the NEA and the Department of Neurology will open opportunities for our epilepsy patients to benefit from in-person and online interactions with artists to explore aspects of illness that are not addressed adequately by traditional pharmaceutical and surgical care,” said principal investigator Lara Ronan, MD, Director of the Neurology Residency Program at D-H and an associate professor of Neurology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. “This program is very exciting as it builds on our mission to provide comprehensive and humanistic care to patients, and to meet their needs creatively.”

In collaboration with the Creative Arts Team at D-H, music, creative writing and visual art will be incorporated into the inpatient unit and clinic to examine whether creative arts can boost quality of life and decrease distress in these patients.

“This collaboration began with funding provided by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, which is also funded by the NEA, to determine if arts programming was possible with epilepsy patients,” Marianne Barthel, Director of the D-H Arts Program.  “The grant from the NEA allows us to increase the number of visits patients receive, measure the impact and pilot using telemedicine to deliver arts programming to patients once they leave the hospital.”

This is one of 15 national awards from the NEA totaling $724,000 to support research projects that investigate the value and impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and with other domains of American life.

For more information on epilepsy care or to participate in the clinical trial visit: https://www.d-h.org/epilepsy.html.

PHOTO: L-R Samantha Wiebkin, Visual Artist; Marv Klassen-Landis, Creative Writer; Margaret Stephens, Therapeutic Harpist; Marianne Barthel, Director,  Arts Program; Lara Ronan, MD Director of the Neurology Residency Program

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across northern New England. D-H provides access to more than 1,800 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named in 2019 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 13 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock also includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; affiliated member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-H system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT.


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