Penn State Intercom......January 17, 2002

Arts and Health Outreach
Initiative launched on pilot basis

The Arts and Health Outreach Initiative, a three-year interdisciplinary partnership-based pilot devoted to demonstrating and documenting the interrelationships between the arts and health through exemplary outreach scholarship, has been established at the University.

The initiative is supported by four principal partners -- the Colleges of Arts and Architecture, Health and Human Development, and Medicine, and Outreach and Cooperative Extension. The College of Arts and Architecture serves as the administrative home for the initiative.

An advisory board (see related story) meets to provide strategic oversight for the initiative.

The initiative embraces a broad definition of health, including not only personal health and healing, but also holistic community life and well-being. This allows the group to create coalitions exploring applications of the arts to personal health and healing, as well as to critical public health issues such as violence and substance abuse prevention, empowerment of high-risk families and youth, universal design and accommodations for persons with disabilities, food system integrity and nutrition education, and rehumanization of community environments, among other issues.

Ermyn F. King has been appointed coordinator of the Arts and Health Outreach Initiative. King received the University's 2001 Barash Award for Human Service for her leadership in the creation and delivery of innovative arts education outreach programs for diverse audiences in a variety of University and community settings. She graduated from Penn State as College of Education marshal and earned a master of arts in speech and dramatic arts-drama for the young at Eastern Michigan University. King joined the University in 1995 as interim alumni coordinator and writer/editor in the College of Health and Human Development.

From 1996 until 2001, she served as project associate in the Office of the Dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

In her new position, King will catalyze the conceptualization, planning and development of outreach programs exploring the intersection between the arts and health. She will cultivate the development of partnerships with academic units that have expertise in the arts, health and health-related disciplines, and social/behavioral sciences, with other University units that focus on issues related to "quality of life," and with external entities supporting the mission. King will also seek external funding to support development and delivery of outreach programs and to secure permanency of the initiative.

For information, call King at (814) 865-8230 or e-mail

Advisory board members

Arts and Health Outreach Initiative advisory board members are:

* Patricia A. Book, associate vice president for Outreach and executive director, Division of Continuing Education

* Marilyn A. Corbin, assistant director, Cooperative Extension, and state program leader for children, youth and families, Cooperative Extension and Outreach

* R. Kevin Grigsby, vice dean for faculty and administrative affairs, College of Medicine

* Ermyn F. King, coordinator, Arts and Health Outreach Initiative

* Donald W. Leslie, associate dean for undergraduate studies and outreach, College of Arts and Architecture

* Wayne D. Smutz, associate director, Division of Continuing Education, and senior director, Outreach Program Development

* Fred W. Vondracek, associate dean for undergraduate education and outreach, College of Health and Human Development