In good hands
Houston nonprofit utilizes art to connect medical professionals to patients
Imagine your doctor holding a paintbrush rather than a stethoscope. The Arts of Healing is working to connect patients to their medical professionals in a new way, encouraging a more personal connection that extends beyond the exam room.
Established in 2017 by Lori and Isaac Raijman, The Arts of Healing Foundation is a Houston-based nonprofit organization that unites physicians from the major hospitals throughout the Texas Medical Center to showcase their unique artistic talents and fundraise for local organizations. Over the past three years, the organization has raised $188,000 for charity.
Lori Raijman, founder, worked as a public school teacher for 24 years, introducing art as a voice and vehicle for her students.
"After my teaching career, I started managing my husband's art business, and he is a physician who paints," Raijman tells InnovationMap. "People would come to his office and talk to him about art, their first encounter with him was different because of the connection through the art."
The Arts of Healing hosts an annual art show where physicians exhibit their work, from painting and photography to music. The 2019 show will take place on Friday, November 8, at the Post Oak Hotel and will benefit The Sunshine Kids Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting children who are fighting cancer.
The Arts of Healing is also planning events outside of the annual art show where physicians can spend time with the children supported by The Sunshine Kids Foundation. During these events, medical professionals will bring in art supplies and musical instruments to interact with the children.
"It's a different level of giving back in sharing the love you have for creating through an experience," says Raijman.
Past beneficiaries include Lung Force (2018) and Pancreatic Cancer (2017).
Raijman tells InnovationMap that her first art show was in 2008 at Hotel Zaza with an attendance of some 300 people. "Years passed and I was trying to figure out how to have physicians art rotate through the hospitals," said Raijman. "Some hospitals do show photography of their physicians in the call, but there wasn't an exhibit of art anywhere."
In 2017, Issac Raijman's art was noticed by a friend who worked with River Oaks District that offered to display the art inside the stores.
"It was like a lightbulb just went off," Raijman tells InnovationMap.
She then moved forward with gathering a group of physicians to showcase their art at the retail stores and raise money for charity. Some two dozen physicians participated in the first exhibition and around 2,000 people attended.
"You see the physicians willing to show this vulnerability that we don't normally see and as a patient that is refreshing," says Raijman. She explains that she feels patients usually feel vulnerable when dealing with medical professionals, sharing their most personal information.
The Arts of Healing website states that studies show art supports creativity and practice in medicine, making better physicians; it also enables medical professionals to better connect, empathize with, and support their patients.
"It also unifies the doctors of the Texas Medical Center," says Raijman. "When you think about the Texas Medical Center and the gold mine of talent there and it's not been harnessed together in this way before, that's a unique factor."
Raijman is also planning an event that will take place next year for women in the medical field, bringing together medical professionals from a variety or practices and specializations.