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Veterans, Military Service Members will Benefit from New EVMS Arts Program

Contact: Nancy Chapman, EVMS


Veterans, military service members will benefit from new EVMS arts program


Hampton Roads, Va. — Mary Roberts, EdS, Program Director of the Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program and Associate Professor in the School of Health Professions at EVMS, is pleased to announce that EVMS’ new Arts for Optimal Health Program has partnered with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and community arts organizations to provide art therapy to veterans and military service members transitioning to civilian life.

Open Studio Art Therapy Groups for these veterans and military service members will begin March 2018 at EVMS. Groups at three other locations in Newport News, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach are targeted to begin later in April 2018.

Art Therapy is a mental-health profession in which an art therapist facilitates engagement in the creative process with visual art processes and media to promote growth, healing and wellness for a variety of mental illnesses and life stressors.

The Arts for Optimal Health–Department of Veterans Services Project is designed to promote services to assist with reintegration into the civilian community, as well as improve quality of life, decrease distress, increase resilience and manage symptoms of mental illness. Group and individual art therapy will be offered through the new project, as well as links to other services.

“We are grateful to Margi Vanderhye, Executive Director of Virginia Commission for the Arts, who helped nurture the project,” Ms. Roberts says. Ms. Vanderhye facilitated collaboration between EVMS and Betty Ann Liddell, Director of Virginia Veteran and Family Support for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

Commissioner John Newby, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and Gov. Ralph Northam, MD (MD ’84) also have promoted art therapy for veterans as innovative and necessary, Ms. Roberts adds.

The EVMS Arts for Optimal Health Program is hosted by the Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program in the EVMS School of Health Professions. The new program’s mission is to bring art therapy and arts engagement services to the community for wellness, healing and growth, supported through partnerships for education, research and patient care.

About EVMS

EVMS opened in 1973, the result of a grassroots effort to improve health in southeastern Virginia. EVMS focuses on the needs of its community, but the impact of its innovative research and high-quality patient care is felt worldwide. The collaborative culture at EVMS draws like-minded students and faculty from all over the country, encourages a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare and emphasizes translational research. In just 45 years, the school has grown from 27 students to more than 1,400 and has an economic impact exceeding $1.2 billion annually. Learn more at