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NYU Steinhardt Joins Launch of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab/Lancet Global Series on Health Benefits of the Arts


Based between NYU Steinhardt and the WHO’s Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen, the Jameel Arts & Health Lab has announced a global research series that will explore the health benefits of the arts. 

Convened by The Lancet, one of the world’s preeminent medical journals, this global series builds on a 2019 WHO Report that identified the contribution the arts can have in promoting good health and health equity, preventing illness, and treating acute and chronic conditions across the lifespan. 

Members of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab and the Lancet pose for a photo.

The Jameel Arts & Health Lab/Lancet global series on the health benefits of the arts was announced at Carnegie Hall followed by a meeting of researchers at NYU Steinhardt. (Fadi Kheir)

The series is led by the Jameel Arts & Health Lab co-directors, Nisha Sajnani, associate professor and director of NYU Steinhardt’s Drama Therapy program, and Nils Fietje, Technical Officer, WHO Regional Office for Europe.

“Through this collaboration with The Lancet, we hope to advance a holistic vision of health in which all available resources, including arts and cultural resources, are valued and implemented towards increasingly equitable and effective systems of care,” said Sajnani.

The research series will contribute a transdisciplinary conceptual framework to understand how participating in the arts can lead to healthier, better lives. It will focus on the impact of arts and creative arts therapies in mitigating risk factors and addressing health outcomes associated with noncommunicable diseases, a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. It will also offer recommendations to guide the scaling up and implementation of arts programs and therapies in public health, schools, cultural organizations, and health facilities amongst other relevant sites of care. 

The Jameel Arts & Health Lab/Lancet Global Series was announced on September 20, 2023, at a special WHO75 Wellbeing Concert and Reception at Carnegie Hall on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. A hybrid, kick-off meeting for the Lancet Global Series was held the following day at NYU Steinhardt with Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, Dr. Miriam Sabin, North American executive editor, and over 50 researchers from 18 countries. 

“NYU Steinhardt is uniquely positioned in the area of arts and health given that we are inherently interdisciplinary, with programs in art, music, dance, and drama therapy; three health-related programs; and programs in arts education,” said Dean Jack H. Knott in his opening remarks. “As a school, Steinhardt is committed to facilitating world-class research, and we are really looking forward to the findings that will emerge from this Lancet Global Series.”

Learn more about the founding of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab this past spring, and find out more about the Lancet Global Series from the WHO.

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