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Follow the Data Podcast: Can the Arts Keep You Healthy?

Everyone knows that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but can singing in the shower also help? What about seeing a play or taking a painting class? For the past two years, Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported the EpiArts Lab, a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab based at the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine in partnership with University College London. The EpiArts Lab has analyzed longitudinal datasets that follow thousands of U.S. residents from all demographics, over several decades to understand whether participating in the arts has long-term benefits for public health.

While we continue to grapple with the mental health fall out of the pandemic, crises caused by climate change, the polarized political landscape, and the marginalization of certain populations… more than ever, people are looking for relief.

The good news is, EpiArts Lab has produced over a dozen peer-reviewed papers uncovering the impacts of arts activities on health indicators in various populations, with compelling findings.

In this episode of Follow the Data, Katherine Oliver sits down with Jill Sonke, PhD, director of research initiatives in the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida, and Tracey Knuckles of our arts team to shed light on the ways that cultural activities can help keep listeners healthy and how the arts can be incorporated into healthcare systems.

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