New Music Therapy Program Supports Wounded Warriors
New Music Therapy Program Announced at Walter Reed National Military Center and National Intrepid Center of Excellence
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman, Rocco Landesman, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, and Rear Admiral Alton L. Stocks, Commander of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, partner to answer President Obama’s request to develop programs that support our wounded warriors and their families by creating a music therapy program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence.
At a teleconference held on November 15th, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius proclaimed:
“The very exciting expansion of Operation Homecoming to include music therapy is just one of the ways that HHS is working with the NEA to enhance healing and health. This program not only benefits the wounded warriors coming home to Walter Reed, it helps us and the scientists working with us gather information on how creative arts therapies might be used more widely and more effectively for both military patients and countless Americans in need.
The President has said many times we have a sacred obligation to insure that service members or veterans, and especially our wounded warriors, get the full support and care they need to rejoin civilian life in comfort and in good health. And we know some important things; we know that the arts are one of the very important tools that can help us fulfill that responsibility.
We look forward to learning more about how the arts are a tool for improving the health and well-being of all Americans.”
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman stated, “The NEA is honored that this partnership will help design and test music therapy programs for our service men and women being treated at Walter Reed.” Music Therapy at NICoE joins the existing NEA-supported “Operation Homecoming” creative writing program, which is utilized in both clinical and non-clinical settings, in addition to a clinical Art Therapy program.
“Time and time again, troops, their families, military and medical professionals tell us that arts can make a difference in the quality of life for troops and their families,” said Rear Admiral Alton L. Stocks, Commander of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “We are excited to examine those claims through research and practice.”
AMTA member Julie Garrison, MA, MT-BC, has accepted this prestigious position as music therapist, dividing her time between The National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) and Walter Reed. NICoE is a Department of Defense facility located in Bethesda, Maryland dedicated to providing cutting-edge evaluation, treatment planning, research and education for service members and their families dealing with the complex interactions of the signature wounds from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and psychological health conditions. This is considered the model program for providing innovative treatment for active duty wounded warriors with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD).
The American Music Therapy Association assembled an expert team to provide background for the teleconference and this new initiative. The team consisted of renowned music therapy researcher/educator and AMTA Board Member, Dr. Alicia Clair, AMTA’s Director of Government Relations, Judy Simpson, AMTA’s Director of Communications, Al Bumanis, AMTA’s Special Projects Consultant, Barbara Else, and AMTA’s Executive Director, Dr. Andi Farbman.
All music therapists should congratulate Julie Garrison, on this exciting new job. Julie is eager to start designing and implementing the program. According to Julie, “Every opportunity impacts our profession. It is our professional responsibility to alert AMTA to opportunities that positively affect, and/or lead to the expansion of music therapy partnerships/positions, within military treatment facilities. “
AMTA is committed to providing continued support and to becoming actively involved in all aspects of this important landmark project.