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Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013

The Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine MEETING THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF PERFORMING ARTISTS by thelma gros Much like athletes, performing artists need a special team of physicians and therapists to help keep them in peak condition so that they can both inspire and entertain audiences without missing a beat. From dancers to singers, musicians to acrobats, the Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM) has more than 100 physicians with specialized knowledge and experience pertaining to the particular medical needs of performing artists. After being contacted 25 years ago by a unique patient, a concert pianist, Dr. C. Richard Stasney founded the center in 2000 in response to a need for focused care for Houston’s performing artists. The original intention behind CPAM was to emulate other centers, but, surprisingly, none existed at that time. As a result, Stasney and his team became pioneers. With the inspired vision to cover everything from voices to ankles, from top to bottom, they assembled a consortium of specialists to tackle the tough challenges facing Houston’s artists. Today, under the direction of Jefferson Todd Frazier, CPAM is one of only a few centers of its kind and is home to nationally recognized specialists in the fi elds of otolaryngology, voice disorders, orthopedics, ophthalmology, kidney disease, neurology, psychiatry and urology. Dr. C. Richard Stasney with his key associate at the Texas Voice Center, Dr. Apurva A. Thekdi, an otolaryngologist who is also a CPAM physician. Instead of just treating the problem, CPAM’s physicians believe in also working to prevent injury to protect one of Houston’s most valuable assets — its artists. Like the Texans’ sideline doctors, Stasney sees the center’s physicians as “on the sidelines of the arts. All performing arts are athletic endeavors.” For artists, a cold can mean much more than a minor annoyance. As Stasney says, “When you carry your Stradivarius violin in your throat, you can’t just change your E-string.” Distinguished from other hospitals by its belief in providing holistic care in a spiritual environment, Methodist was the fi rst hospital to institutionally support a center like CPAM. Like Methodist, the center goes beyond the cure. CPAM takes a coordinated and specialized approach to world-class patient care through integrated arts performances, exhibits and classes as part of the hospital environment and commitment to innovative educational, rehabilitative and therapeutic research. The center focuses on interventional research, including music’s effect on the mind and how physicians can use that research to help other patients — not necessarily performing artists — heal. For example, one of CPAM’s current research initiatives investigates stroke patients, their rehabilitation, and the impact that listening intently and regularly to different styles of music in different ways has on their neurological recovery. The idea behind this initiative is that music, if used in a coordinated way with existing therapy, may augment rehabilitation and help the brain, in a sense, “rewire” itself around the injury, which carries major implications for long-term recovery. In addition to top-quality patient care, the center hosts numerous musical events each month, usually free and open to the public, including events co-sponsored by the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Rice University, Texas Music Festival, Texas Medical Center Orchestra, American Festival for the Arts and many other professional and amateur ensembles. For physicians like Stasney, “It’s fun to marry vocation and avocation,” and when they both involve music, it’s a beautiful partnership. n The Methodist Hospital is the offi cial health care provider for the Houston Ballet, the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Symphony. For more information about CPAM, call 713-394-6088 or visit methodisthealth.com/cpam. Leading Medicine • Volume 7, Number 1 4 5 i n a d d i t i o n


Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013
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