Lynn Maxfield (Vocology, Music) and team studying artmaking and health/wellbeing earn combined U of U/CFA Seed Grant

February 07 2024

Lynn Maxfield, PhD (Vocology, Music) along with Brian Manternach, DM (Theatre, Vocology), Ben Christensen, PhD (Surgery), and Becky Zarate, PhD (Music Therapy/CFA) were funded a $43,000 combined seed grant by the University of Utah Vice President for Research’s and the College of Fine Arts for their project entitled, “Investigating the Mechanisms Governing the Impact of Voice and Non-Voiced Arts Participation on Biomarkers of Health and Wellbeing.”

In addition to being able to begin data collection this year (the findings on which they hope to publish by Spring 2025), they have been able to hire undergraduate student researchers from the School of Music, providing unique research experiences for these students.

Abstract: The past two decades has seen an increase in research investigating the intersection of art making and health and wellbeing. In the same time, western medicine has increasingly adopted a more integrative approach, accepting an ever-broadening range of interventions for the treatment and prevention of many acute and chronic physical and psychological conditions. While a growing body of research is indicating a positive association between arts-participation – particularly music – and measures of general health and wellbeing, there is an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms by which positive health outcomes are achieved. The project proposed here aims to begin to fill this critical gap by illuminating which elements of arts-based interventions have the strongest effect on health and wellbeing biomarkers. The long-term goal of this work is to provide clinical and community-based arts in health practitioners with critical information to optimize interventions and optimize health outcomes.