Power of Culture Blog
78.5% of awardees are first-time Mass Cultural Council grant recipients
$100,000 to support the role of cultural experiences as a protective factor in the health and well-being of all people in the Commonwealth
Mass Cultural Council is proud to continue building capacity for cultural organizations to play a key role in the health and well-being of individuals and communities throughout Massachusetts. Through our CultureRx Initiative we are investing $100,000 in Social Prescription grants in FY23 through a cohort of 10 organizations across the Commonwealth.
The CultureRx Initiative uses the term “social prescribing” to describe when a health provider refers a patient to a partner arts and cultural organization in the community for the benefit of support, connection, inspiration and/or well-being. Launched in January 2020, Mass Cultural Council focused the first phase of the initiative on building a cohort of eight cultural organizations, working with two professional care providers, to positively affect the health and well-being of people in the communities of Western Massachusetts. Building on the success of Phase I, Phase II of the pilot expanded the program to include 12 organizations from throughout the state. Those same 12 organizations were funded to continue the work in FY22 under Phase III. Now, in FY23 (Phase IV), 10 of these organizations chose to continue the work to address barriers and build upon the success of the initiative.
Congratulations to the FY23 Social Prescription grant recipients:
As part of this year’s Social Prescription work, Dr. Tasha Golden, Director of Research at the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins Medicine, will offer trainings for the cohort organizations and will work to further implement the recommendations from last year’s study, Mass Cultural Council’s “CultureRx” Evaluation of a Social Prescription Pilot.
The study reported that participating health providers found benefit in being able to offer direct and accessible non-medical “prescriptions” to patients. As a result, the providers recommended the expansion of Social Prescription. The study also found that patients who redeemed social prescriptions reported overwhelmingly positive experiences. This year, Golden will continue to co-develop and manage evaluation strategies and assess the impact of the social prescribing activities.
In addition, Mass Cultural Council will create a field guide with the help of two members of our Social Prescription Task Force, Dr. Lisa Wong, and Brooke D. Evans. We also plan to continue our collaboration with the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida and at the EpiArts Lab as we seek to gain further evidence of health impacts of arts/culture, focusing on equity and access as priority concerns.
Also in FY23, Mass Cultural Council staff will work with a strategic consultant, two task force members, and Dr. Golden to focus on advocacy, support, convenings, and developing a plan for an effective transfer of the Initiative to another entity in FY24.
Questions about Social Prescription or the CultureRx Initiative? Contact Käthe Swaback.