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Home / Blog / Organizations / Introducing the FY21 CultureRx Social Prescription Pilot Cohort

Introducing the FY21 CultureRx Social Prescription Pilot Cohort

Erik Holmgren, Program Manager

Girl wearing mask with happy eyes and a thumbs up and stuffed animal at the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Young girl visiting Norman Rockwell Museum as part of the Social Prescription Program.

In March, Mass Cultural Council officially launched the CultureRx Initiativewith a well-attended public briefing for legislators, staff, and cultural partners at the Massachusetts State House.   

One component of this new initiative, our Social Prescription Partnership Pilot program, began last spring in the City of Springfield and in Berkshire County. The results of that work are well documented in a report by the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. The report identifies the successes and future potential of the social prescription of cultural experiences in Massachusetts.

What is Social Prescription?

According to the World Health Organization, social prescription is common in other countries. Mass Cultural Council hopes that through CultureRx, Massachusetts will lead the practice in the US. Doctors, social workers, teachers, and other professional service providers will prescribe cultural engagement as a protective, healthy habit. Mass Cultural Council will reimburse cultural organizations for the social prescriptions they fill and the services they provide. This improves health and well-being of the participants AND contributes to the overall fiscal health and stability of the cultural sector.

This next phase of the Social Prescription Pilot is intended expand the program to include a broader cohort of organizations and practices by identifying cultural organizations that have existing and active referral or prescribing relationships with a professional care provider.

The FY21 cohort of programs paints a diverse picture of the potential of culture as a vehicle for improved public and personal heath in Massachusetts:

  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston working with Boston Children’s Hospital to offer virtual and future in-person arts engagement opportunities for children who are inpatients at the hospital.


  • Urbanity Dance working with the Center for Neurorehabilitation at Boston University’s Sargeant College to provide dance classes to patients dealing with Parkinson’s disease.






  • Franklin Park Zoo offering year-long memberships to young mothers who either complete their full post-natal care or complete the full immunization cycle for their children ahead by age two.

This cohort will begin their work at a time when organizations and individuals share an acute need for improved health outcomes. Our partner Dr. Debra Buccino at MACONY Pediatrics again offered the full support of her practice to the next phase of the program, saying “Especially in a time of isolation this is such a powerful way to counter things.”

[Hear more about social prescription from Dr. Buccino and Adrien Conklin, BSN RN on the Mass Cultural Council podcast.]

Questions about Social Prescription or the CultureRx Initiative? Contact Erik Holmgren.

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