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ACRM Arts & Neuroscience Networking Group



PBS NewsHour interviews Dr. Ron Hirschberg

Ron Hirschberg imageRon Hirschberg, MD, co-founder of the ACRM Arts & Neuroscience Networking Group, discussed his latest endeavor, Frontline Songs, in a recent interview for the PBS NewsHour. Frontline Songs provides a platform for healing via music to healthcare workers on the frontlines in the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a collaborative and therapeutic process, frontline healthcare providers share their experiences with songwriters and together they create a song that reflects the providers’ experiences back to them in a powerful and healing way. Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier participated and will release a new book in July called Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting. Read more >>

Seeking Collaborators on A&N COVID-19 Projects

The present COVID-19 situation has prompted development of a number of projects that are being led by A&N members and the task force leadership would like input/help from the A&N Community.


Steven Meisler and Allison O’Mara, our A&N Cognition Task Force Co-Chairs, have proposed to make a webpage summarizing some literature about the use of music in the ICU to help wean patients off of ventilators, written in such a way as to be accessible to the population at large (e.g., not just researchers or healthcare practitioners).

Given the urgent need of ventilators in hospitals today, this topic seems in line with the goals of the task force as well as particularly relevant to the current state of affairs. If you would like to volunteer to summarize one or multiple articles, or have any questions about this project, please reach out to Steven Meisler or Allison O’Mara. We would love to have the page published by mid-May!


Additionally, as the world is going through difficult times and there is a lot of anxiety everywhere, especially among the elderly, I thought as artists maybe we could do something to provide some relief to those isolated by making videos available. For instance, here is 10 minutes of Christina Soriano’s IMPROVment practice, designed for persons who are elderly and/or differently abled (including living with dementia).  Do you have existing media that we could compile in a free resource for seniors in lockdown? If you have resources you are able to share, please reach out to Jaswandi Pitale.
Our idea is to focus on practical, calming, uplifting content that might help those feeling anxious vs. overwhelm them!

Exploring the Connection Between Music and Brain

The marriage of arts and medicine can seem like a novel concept, but it has been talked about for centuries. It’s only during the last decade or so that we have the technological advances to offer evidence for the importance of this interplay. The implications for neurorehabilitation has been indeed powerful and successful to date. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) entered the fold in 2016, introducing “Sound Health,” a partnership with the Kennedy Center and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to explore the music and brain connection and to promote health, and in late 2018 released the RFA for project support in music and health.

This came to fruition because of the dedication and leadership of the NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, a leader in precision medicine and instrumental in mapping the entire Human Genome. Last month, Ron Hirschberg visited the NIH and had the special opportunity to sit with Dr. Collins and discuss this relationship we strongly value in our field of neurorehabilitation.

Follow the link below to hear Francis Collins and Ron Hirschberg discuss music and scientific discovery, the necessity of interdisciplinary collaboration, and even spirituality. As ACRM and colleagues in medical rehabilitation continue to show scientific advancement in the 21st century, these lessons of listening, creativity and exploration that Dr. Collins preach will be critical elements for progress in recovery for our patients. Listen Now >>

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