The Institute for Arts in Medicine – Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of USC

University of Southern California

Grant: Grant: $50,000

The Institute for Arts in Medicine [IAM] is dedicated to expanding and uniting the community that is focused on overcoming disease and specifically cancer. The IAM is working in partnership with the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of USC. As we pursue innovative and interdisciplinary methods to facilitate better patient care, collaboration is the way forward and a cornerstone of our strategy. The IAM draws upon a network of renowned scientists, academics, and practitioners to deliver an integrative model of research and patient care, a team that values the health of patients and underserved populations. Cancer patients are faced with both physical and emotional stresses upon diagnosis and during their treatment. Art and mindfulness-based therapies have been shown to improve quality of life amongst cancer patients. This study will assess the impact of implementing expressive arts therapies, virtual reality, the LaughMD application, and guided imagery on hospitalized cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The utility of these integrative approaches during inpatient chemotherapy administration will be evaluated in terms of its psychological and biological impacts, through patient reported pain scores, anxiety surveys and through assessment of serum biomarkers correlated with pain and anxiety. The implementation of different arts-based, humor- and mindfulness-based therapies in the healthcare setting may serve as a cost-effective, nonpharmacological agent to alleviate pain, anxiety, and stress. The study will consist of 60 volunteer inpatients with ages ranging from 18 – 90 years receiving chemotherapy, the study period will be over 24 months. Anticipated results will demonstrate the feasibility of implementation on a large scale and the potential to lay the foundation for a larger, prospective study to meaningfully evaluate the impact of these interventions on anxiety depression and somatic symptoms among inpatients undergoing cancer-directed therapies. 

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