Supporting our Military and Veterans through the Arts

Recorded On: 04/28/2020


About this Breakout Session

This advocacy training session focuses on supporting our military and veterans through the arts. Our main advocacy asks are to urge Congress to support Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 785), to support increased funding through the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense for creative arts therapies, expressive arts therapy, and arts-based programming, and to support legislation that improves access to evidence-based complimentary and integrative treatments and telehealth, including creative arts therapies, expressive art therapy, and arts-based programming.


  • Judy Simpson, American Music Therapy Association
  • Naj Wikoff, National Organization for Arts in Health
  • Lindsay Miserandino, Arts in the Armed Forces
  • 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 “Supporting our Military Veterans through the Arts Recorded” or “Supporting our Military Veterans through the Arts 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.

Lindsay Miserandino

Executive Director, Arts in the Armed Forces

Lindsay Miserandino is the Executive Director of Arts in the Armed Forces, a non-profit founded by actor and Marine, Adam Driver, dedicated to providing high quality arts programming to US military installations and veterans across the world. Prior to AITAF, Lindsay led fundraising and operations at Rosie O’Donnell’s Rosie’s Theater Kids, a non-profit offering conservatory-style training in the performing arts, academic tutoring and social services to underserved NYC public school students. Lindsay previously served as an Associate in the Education Department at Roundabout Theater Company, administering in-depth partnerships between the theater and New York City public high schools, including serving on the planning team to open three new theater-based high schools in New York City's Department of Education. Lindsay began her career teaching 9th grade English and high school theatre. She is a graduate of the Executive Management and Leadership training program at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a Board member at Rosie’s Theater Kids.

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.   


Supporting our Military and Veterans through the Arts Recorded
Supporting our Military and Veterans through the Arts Recorded with Closed Captions

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