Integrative medicine takes a modern step at UC Irvine Health center

Center teams up with Orange County School of the Arts to create a unique healing environment for patients

April 02, 2014

UC Irvine Health Family Health Center in Santa Ana is hopping with activity thanks, in part, to a troupe of student dancers from neighboring Orange County School of the Arts. The collaboration is part of a novel program that brings music and arts to clinical settings creating a calmer and more comfortable environment for patients.   

Six OSCA dancers recently performed two contemporary routines in the lobby of the FHC to the surprise and amusement of unsuspecting patients and their families. Dancers sat alongside patients while they carried out their unique movements that included elements of ballet, modern and lyrical dancing.    

This patient-centered approach to health and wellness focuses on treating the whole person including the mind, body and spirit and is part of UC Irvine Health’s Integrative Medicine Program.

“There have been a variety of studies demonstrating the health benefits of simple mind-body interventions, which include art, music, and laughter in addition to the more familiar mind-body techniques such as meditation,” said Dr. David Kilgore, director of Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine Health. “Our intent is to create a welcoming and less intimidating clinical setting that helps patients feel more at ease before meeting with their physician.”

In addition to the dance performances, the clinic has hosted musical performances and a poetry reading by OCSA students.  The clinic also plans on displaying students’ artwork including paintings and ceramics. 

A grant from the Samueli Foundation funds the integrative medicine program. Through this donation, the program integrates the best of Western scientific medicine with broader therapeutic approaches for patients to achieve optimal health and healing.  A large focus of this health center is to bring preventive medicine to an underserved population. 

“Our goal is to transform our sites from being a healthcare provider in the community to a community center that also happens to provide quality healthcare,” says Dirk Zirbel, Ph.D., associate director of UC Irvine Health Family Health Centers. 

The Family Health Center in Santa Ana  and Anaheim are community health centers affiliated with UC Irvine Medical Center and UC Irvine School of Medicine. 

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 13 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

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