Pilot Program in Mass. Informs Extensive Guide on Social Prescribing

Sep 13, 2023

The University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine released a guide for health care practitioners, insurance companies, and community organizations on how to integrate arts, culture, and nature into referral programs, a concept within a social prescribing model known as arts on prescription.

This is an excellent opportunity for communities working to become more age- and dementia friendly to address a number of issues, including social engagement, and those interested can contact James Fuccione at the Mass. Healthy Aging Collaborative.

“Arts on Prescription: A Field Guide for U.S. Communities,” developed in partnership with Mass Cultural Council, offers a roadmap for “prescribing” creative activities like art classes, dance lessons, and visits to museums, gardens, and theaters to support and improve a patient’s health, well-being, and quality of life.

While most U.S. physicians and insurance companies aren’t yet referring patients to museum visits or dance classes, research into social prescribing in the United Kingdom and other countries where the practice is more prevalent is showing that such an approach to wellness can improve health outcomes.

The Arts on Prescription field guide, designed to build community partnerships, highlights a handful of arts on prescription programs in the United States and the diverse ways in which these programs can be carried out. For example:

  • CultureRx in Massachusetts allows providers to prescribe arts and culture experiences at partner organizations.
  • A collaboration between the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield provides arts prescriptions to insurance members who are at risk of overusing health care.
  • Isolation to Connection in New York City combats loneliness through community connectors who link older adults to cultural activities, volunteer work, and more.

The Arts on Prescription: A Field Guide for U.S. Communities” can be accessed free of charge on the UF Center for Arts in Medicine website.