Advancing Arts and Health

Recorded On: 04/28/2020


About this Breakout Session

This advocacy training session focuses on advancing the arts in health. Our main advocacy asks are to urge Congress to support the Dignity in Aging Act (H.R. 4334), to support the RISE from Trauma Act (S. 1770, H.R. 3180), to support research funding for creative and expressive arts therapies and arts-based programming within federal agencies, and to preserve Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that provide access to affordable healthcare coverage for artists and other creative occupations.


  • Judy Simpson, American Music Therapy Association
  • Naj Wikoff, National Organization for Arts in Health
  • Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC, Creative Forces

This event is a part of the National Arts Action Digital Summit.

How to View the Recording: locate the “Advancing Arts and Health Recorded” or “Advancing Arts and Health with Closed Captions” box on the right-hand side of this page. Click the box and a red VIEW VIDEO button will appear. Click on that button and the recorded session will open in a pop-up window. Please note that you must be logged in to your account and registered for this event in order to view the recording.

Judy Simpson

Director of Government Relations, American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)

As Director of Government Relations for the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), Judy Simpson represents the profession with legislators and agencies on the state and federal level. She has been an active member of the Arts Advocacy Summit Legislative Planning Committee since 2009. For the last 15 years, Judy has led AMTA’s state recognition initiative in collaboration with the Certification Board for Music Therapists, presenting advocacy trainings in 26 states and contributing to legislative and regulatory language in 40 states. Prior to her work with AMTA, Judy’s 17 years of clinical experience as a board certified music therapist involved developing music therapy programs in hospital settings, including physical rehabilitation, oncology, labor and delivery, psychiatry, ICU, and general medicine.

Naj Wikoff

Vice President, National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH)

Naj Wikoff is the National Marketing Director for Aesthetics, Inc. and serves as Vice President of the National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH). Wikoff, an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University, is a founding member of Lesley’s Institute for Arts in Health and the National Initiative for the Arts in Health in the Military. He is the, former director of the Healing Arts program of the C. Everett Koop Institute at the Dartmouth Medical School and of Arts and Productions at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.

Twenty-two years ago, Wikoff established Creative Healing Connections, which uses the arts and nature to support the healing of women living with cancer, military spouses, and veteran and active duty service women living with PTSD and Military Sexual Trauma. The two-time Fulbright Senior Scholar regularly consults on arts and health, healing spaces, and arts and trauma issues to health and arts institutions, and has worked with victims of terror and war in Palestine and Israel. In addition, for the past twelve years, as arts coordinator for Connecting Youth and Community, Wikoff has been using the arts to reduce the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs by teens.

Donna Betts

PhD, ATR-BC, Clinical Research Advisor for Creative Forces®: National Endowment for the Arts’ Military Healing Arts Network

Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC, is Clinical Research Advisor for Creative Forces®: National Endowment for the Arts’ Military Healing Arts Network.  She has been a Board-Certified art therapist since 2002 and served as President of the American Art Therapy Association from 2015–2017.  Formerly Associate Professor and Research Director in the George Washington University Graduate Art Therapy Program (2009 – 2018), Dr. Betts is an award-winning scholar and has presented internationally on art therapy practice, policy, and research.  Dr. Betts’ most recent publication is the book, Art Therapy Research: A Practical Guide.   


Advancing Arts and Health Recorded
Advancing Arts and Health Recorded with Closed Captions

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