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Researchers at IUPUI featured speakers at meeting initiated by National Institutes of Health


INDIANAPOLIS — Two Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers were featured scientific speakers on music therapy research in oncology at the National Institutes of Health meeting/seminar titled “Music Therapy Research in Oncology: Therapeutic Outcomes, Mechanisms, and Directions for Future Research.”

It was the first face-to-face meeting initiated and hosted by the NIH that enabled music therapists to inform NIH, government and military officials about important music therapy research and evidence-based practice.

The event last month attracted a large audience, with representatives from many NIH institutes, the National Endowment for the Arts, Veterans Affairs, active military and over 20 board-certified music therapists and students, said Sheri Robb, associate professor and board-certified music therapist in the IU School of Nursing.

Robb and Debra Burns, associate professor and coordinator of the Music Therapy Program in the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, were invited to make the presentation. Robb and Burns were among IU researchers who earlier this year reported that adolescents and young adults undergoing cancer treatment gained coping skills and resilience-related outcomes when they participate in a therapeutic music process that includes writing song lyrics and producing videos.

The researchers tested a music therapy intervention — identified in IU School of Nursing faculty member Joan Haase’s Resilience in Illness Model — in patients undergoing stem cell transplant treatments for cancer. The intervention was designed to target a gap in research focused on the unique psychosocial needs of these young patients. Resilience is the process of positively adjusting to stressors, including those associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“We were pleased to see the level of interest and greatly appreciated the opportunity to engage in a meaningful dialogue with attendees,” Robb said. “It was a highly memorable experience, and we look forward to seeing what unfolds as a result of the meeting, which we hope will lead to some wonderful new opportunities and relationships.”