CORAL Research Agenda


Creative Arts Therapy to Reduce Psychological Distress Symptoms in Health Care


We are developing and testing a series of creative arts programs designed to build resilience among health care workers.

The programs integrate visual arts therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy, and creative writing/poetry.

We have been able to study 6 cohorts under funding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Research Labs, and have published our results here.

The research agenda will address the following question:

  • What changes in physical or mental health outcomes are experienced by subjects participating in creative arts programs?

Purpose: to learn if creative arts programs can:

  • Reduce symptoms of psychological distress
  • Enhance the connection to the purpose of your work
  • Enhance the connection to your peers

Intervention: Our team has developed a 12-week Creative Arts Therapy protocol. Participants are a part of 1 of the following 4 groups:

  • Creative Writing
  • Dance and Movement
  • Music
  • Visual Arts

These sessions are not "lessons" or "classes", bur rather therapy sessions using the arts as a mean, with the goal of providing participants with tools to reduce their symptoms.

Participants meet weekly for 90 minutes. During the intervention, participants go through the stages of Creating Space (exploring identity); Fostering Expression and Activating Self-Awareness; and Integration and Community.

Please watch the recruitment video below, and feel free to email Rafaela Mantelli (project manager) at with any questions!



Results of our research so far:




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What previous participants have said about the intervention:

"CORAL helped me feel validated in my feelings regarding my job. These are complex, nuanced and difficult to process experiences. It was really necessary for me to have access to a community that is understanding and encouraging" - EMT

"It has really helped me look at situations with patients and coworkers differently to come up with alternate solutions and ways to deal with things that cause me stress and burnout" – medical technologist

CORAL_ Creative Arts Therapy for Healthcare Professionals

Key personnel:

Principal Investigator: Marc Moss, MD

Project Manager: Rafaela Mantelli, MD 

Co-Investigators: Katherine Reed,LPC , Michael Henry, MFA , & Jeri Forster PhD

Creative Arts Therapists/Facilitators:
Katherine Reed, LPC
Tony Edelblute, LPC
Hillary Sinn, LPC, R-DMT
Michael Henry, MFA

Pulmonary Sciences (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Research Complex II

12700 East 19th Avenue


Aurora, CO 80045


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