Enhancing Wellness for Healthcare Professionals through Engagement with the Arts

The CORAL team at CU Anschutz specializes in healthcare worker resiliency and wellness. One of our goals is to cultivate a community for arts and healthcare with a monthly lecture series. 

Our 2022-2023 series is over, but you can still watch the recordings!

Meet the Speakers

 bernie warren

Bernie Warren, PhD

Professor Emeritus Bernie Warren, Ph.D., (AKA Dr. Bernie), is an internationally respected interdisciplinary researcher and teacher, who loves teaching and makes learning FUN!

He recently retired from the University of Windsor as Professor Emeritus after teaching in Universities worldwide for more than 35 yrs. In addition to his Western training in Performing Arts / Psychology he has trained in Eastern healing and martial arts for more than 50 years and has taught Qigong & Tai Chi as both health promotion and for people of all ages living with life changing conditions.

In 2001 Dr. Bernie created Fools For Health and its award-winning Clown-Doctor and Elder-Clown programs, and for 10 years worked in hospitals and healthcare facilities as Dr. Haven’t-a-Clue.


He is the recipient of numerous research grants (including major grants from CIHR and SSHRC). He was the recipient of the University of Windsor’s 2001 Alumni Award for Distinguished Contributions to University Teaching and the University of Windsor’s 2009 Outstanding Faculty Research Award (Established Scholars/Researchers). He has been included in Canadian Who’s Who since 1994.


He is the author of numerous academic books and articles including Using The Creative Arts in Therapy and Healthcare; Smiles Are Everywhere: Integrating Clown-Play into Healthcare Practice, with Dr. Peter SpitzerThe Clown Doctor Chronicles with Caroline Simonds; Stand Breathe Smile: Simple Breathing Exercises To Reduce Stress And Promote Better Healthwith Joanna Coughlin AND a best-selling illustrated book for children: Teddy Teaches Tai Chi


Since his retirement from full-time teaching, he has been concentrating on his research and writing; and on teaching short courses for professional organizations and at various Universities around the world.


Cathy malchiodiCathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT

holds a doctorate in psychology and is an expressive arts therapist specializing in the treatment of traumatic stress. For the last three decades Cathy has worked with traumatized children, adolescents, adults, and families, expanding the range of understanding of non-verbal, sensory-based concepts and methods. She is the executive director of the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute that has provided online and live training in expressive and somatosensory approaches to over 25,000 practitioners around the world.

 Cathy is currently part of a grant with the US Department of Education, integrating expressive arts therapy into classrooms.  A popular presenter and workshop leader, she given over 700 invited keynotes and workshops throughout the US, Canada, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. She has authored 20 books, including the bestselling Trauma and Expressive Arts Therapy: Brain, Body, and Imagination in the Healing Process and Understanding Children’s Drawings. Her publications have been translated in over 20 languages.

 Dr. Malchiodi has extensive experience in the areas of trauma, attachment, disaster relief, and adversity. She has assisted more than 500 agencies, organizations, and institutions in developing trauma-informed, expressive, and responsive programming including the World Health Organization, United Nations, Department of Defense, Kennedy Center, Harvard, MIT, Johns Hopkins, and numerous universities, mental health, community, and healthcare agencies in the US and throughout the world. Widely interviewed by a variety of news outlets, she has been featured Time Magazine, CNN, Cosmopolitan, Natural Living, Marie Clare, Australia Childhood Foundation, US News and World Report, and VICE, among others. She is a contributing writer for Psychology Today and has a readership of approximately 5.8 million on topics relevant to trauma recovery and restoration of the self, arts in healthcare and mental health, and self-care.

Tamara Underiner Tamara Underiner, PhD, MA

Tamara Underiner is associate dean for professional development and engagement in Arizona State University's Graduate College, and associate professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, where she serves as founding director of the Ph.D. program in Theatre and Performance of the Americas. She also convenes Creative Health Collaborations, a university-wide effort to integrate arts, humanities and design approaches in health research, education, practice and policy. With Dr. David W. Coon, she co-directs a new NEA-sponsored Research Lab studying the health-supporting role of the arts in different types of caregiving contexts and via a range of participatory arts experiences involving both caregivers and their loved ones. 

With colleague Stephani Etheridge Woodson (MDT), she is the co-editor of the collected volume, "Theatre, Performance and Change" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).  She is the author of "Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts" (University of Texas Press, 2004), and has published essays in Theatre Journal, RISE: The Journal of Applied Theatre, Signs, Baylor Journal of Theatre and Performance, TDR, and critical anthologies from academic presses in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. She is active in the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Alliance for Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), the American Society for Theatre Research, and the board of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, based in New York City.

As founding director of the doctoral program in Theatre and Performance of the Americas, she works closely with faculty across the Institute to develop individualized curricula, research projects, and funding opportunities for students interested in pursuing research on the relationship between artistic performance, in all its forms, and the ongoing history of the Americas and their peoples.

Jennifer Novak-LeonardJennifer Novak-Leonard, PhD

Dr. Novak-Leonard is Research Associate Professor and Research Director of the Arts Impact Initiative in the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Her work focuses on the social roles of arts, artists, and creativity; how they impact people and communities; and implications for policy and practice. She specializes in the development and use of novel measurement systems to understand cultural participation and the personal and public values derived from these experiences to inform multiple domains of public and social policy.

Her research examines racial, ethnic, and socio-economic inequities in outcomes and opportunities for arts, artists, and movements toward cultural democracy. Dr. Novak-Leonard also serve as the Research Director and Board Vice President of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP).

Jeremy NobelJeremy Nobel, MD, MPH

Physician, Teacher, Innovator, and Author - Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, is the Founder and President of The Foundation for Art & Healing and its signature initiative Project UnLonely. He is also on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where his teaching and research activities focus on population health, social determinants of health, and the design and evaluation of health improvement intervention programs.

With the unique background and training required to bridge scientific and humanistic disciplines, he has contributed to significant explorations into how creative expression mitigates illness and enhances wellbeing. He has become a prominent advocate for creative engagement, ancillary to and integrated with traditional medical care, as a pathway to healing.

Dr. Nobel’s book, “Project UnLonely: Healing Our Crisis of Disconnection”, published by Penguin Random House in 2023, unpacks our personal and national experience of loneliness to discover its roots and take steps to find comfort and connection. He clarifies how meaningful connection can be nourished and sustained, and he reveals that an important component of the healing process is engaging in creativity.

Dr. Nobel graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University within the Science and Human Affairs program. He received his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his internal medicine residency at the Beth Israel Hospital, Boston. Board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Dr. Nobel also holds dual Master’s Degrees in Epidemiology and Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


Poet & Photographer - A published poet, Dr. Nobel has received several awards for his poetry including the Bain-Swiggett Prize from Princeton University, and the American Academy of Poets Prize from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Nobel has been writing poetry and taking photographs since high school and studied both arts in college. In medical school, as he encountered studies demonstrating that art plays an important role in healing, he realized that his artistic, scientific, and humanistic interests were complementary.

An avid arts supporter, Dr. Nobel has served on the Board of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company of New York City, the Board of Overseers of the De Cordova Art Museum in Lincoln, MA, and the Institute for Contemporary Art/Boston Director’s Circle.

Heather Stuckey-Peyrot Heather L. Stuckey, D.Ed


Dr. Stukey is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Humanities, and Public Health Sciences at Penn State University. She is co-director of the Qualitative and Mixed Methods Core at Penn State College of Medicine and has extensive experience in qualitative research, including several grants related to qualitative research and understanding the meaning and behaviors of diabetes. She was Lead Qualitative Researcher for the completed Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs (DAWN2) international study involving 17 countries. She established procedures for coding more than 100,000 words of qualitative data regarding the successes, wishes and barriers to those with diabetes. This included supervising qualitative coders to achieve inter-rater reliability and negotiating meaning of cultural and political climates in the text.Her career has focused on diabetes care and improvement in the lives of people with diabetes, primarily through qualitative and mixed-methods research.

She has conducted research in the arts and healing using creative expression through meditation, shape-making, and photography to communicate deep and often hidden core beliefs about living with a disease. She is an experienced qualitative researcher, and her goal is to bring both the imaginative world of the arts together with the outcomes of science to further the field of arts and health.

Brittany Martin Brittany Martin, PhD


Brittany Harker Martin (or Dr. Britt) is a seasoned Arts Educator with a PhD in Business Strategy. As a tenured, Associate Professor at the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada), she teaches the future teachers of art, dance, drama, literature, and music; and graduate students in Leadership, Policy and Governance. Her research investigates relationships between arts, brain, and cognition through a transdisciplinary lens that draws on arts-based methodologies, psychometrics, and neuroscience; while also extending her frameworks on Socially Empowered Learning, Artistic Intelligence (AQ), and Brain Smoothies (her art-based exercises that promote mental health). As such, she is an Associate Member of the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education, and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Past collaborators include: Stanford’s Gardner Centre, the Rozsa Foundation, Alberta Health Services, Creative Kids Museum, Spark Science Centre, the Royal Conservatory of Music, and Harvard’s Leadership Institute.

Gayla ElliotGayla Elliott, MA, ATR, CBIS


Gayla Elliot has been an art therapist over 35 years with graduate degrees in both art therapy and counseling psychology. She began practicing art therapy in psychiatric hospital settings, working with  children, adolescents and adults who experienced psychological trauma and other psychiatric diagnoses. She also spent 8 years working in a women’s crisis center, providing crisis counseling to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  In 2009 she was invited to create an art therapy program at the Naval Medical Center of Camp Lejeune, a Marine military base in North Carolina, treating active duty service members for psychological disturbance, substance abuse, and providing arts engagement opportunities for the Wounded Warrior Battalion.  While at Camp Lejeune, Gayla was recruited to provide art therapy in a brain injury outpatient clinic, the “Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center.” That position was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts-Creative Forces, an initiative to place creative arts therapists in military healthcare systems across the US. The experience at Camp Lejeune paved the way for her to eventually join the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, where she is currently the art therapy program manager. The Marcus Institute, located on the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado, has developed an innovative and effective interdisciplinary healthcare approach to treating brain injury and psychological trauma for military Veterans and First Responders. Gayla lives in Denver, Colorado.

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