Vet Arts Connect, an initiative of the Institute for Integrative Health, works to relieve the suffering and support the well-being of Maryland military veterans by advancing opportunities for them to experience nature and the creative arts—activities that ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and depression. To that end, Vet Arts Connect focuses on three functions:
Vet Arts Connect creates strong partnerships between arts and nature providers and local veteran service organizations (VSO) to offer quality programming for veterans. We partner with providers that already present arts and nature programs for veterans. We also adapt national models and programs to share at the local level and help local art and nature providers adapt their existing programs for a veteran audience.
We connect veterans with these opportunities by working with local Department of Veterans Affairs offices, VSOs, and veterans services offices at colleges and universities to identify and recruit veterans who may be interested in arts and nature programs available near their homes. Learn about partnering with Vet Arts Connect and find out about our existing programs.
Vet Arts Connect prepares program instructors and facilitators to interact effectively with veterans, using learning modules from Psych Armor Institute. This is accomplished online through our training portal, which has been developed specifically for Vet Arts Connect. Currently, our training portal offers two basic modules: 15 Things Veterans Want You to Know and Invisible Wounds of War. In 2018, Vet Arts Connect will produce a new learning module to introduce and explain the value of art in the healing and recovery process.
Vet Arts Connect is studying the effects of arts and nature engagement on veterans’ overall health and well-being. We’ll invite veterans to provide data about their experiences before and after participating in a program. Through our online evaluation portal, provided by MD Logix, veterans will complete surveys, which will be analyzed by our team of researchers. Vet Arts Connect will share the findings with our partners as well as institutions, policy makers, and professionals who are concerned with the health and well-being of veterans and the general public. Learn more about our research.