Murkowski Announces Expansion of Program to Help Nation’s Wounded Warriors

JBER Selected for Healing Arts Program

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today announced that Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) has been selected as a new site to offer creative art therapy for service members, veterans, and their families. The program, the Military Healing Arts, is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to support arts and health in the military. It is designed to help our nation’s wounded and injured service members and their families in their transition into civilian life.

“When the discussion began about where to offer this partnership, Alaska and JBER immediately came to mind. JBER provides support to all Alaska service members - including our guard, reserve, and veteran populations - and is the top Traumatic Brain Injury clinic for USAF staff. We also have an incredibly strong, vibrant arts community in Alaska that is active and eager to help our veterans improve treatment outcomes and their quality of life,” said Senator Murkowski.

As Chairman of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, Murkowski secured $2.4 million in Fiscal Year 2016 in order to expand this partnership to five locations around the country including not only JBER but also Camp Pendleton, Camp Lejeune, Fort Hood, and the Madigan Army Center. As NEA and DoD visited each site being considered for a potential expansion, JBER stood out because of the population it serves, its state of the art facilities, the expertise of its staff, and the engagement of the local community and Alaska State Council on the Arts.

(Murkowski announces Military Healing Arts is coming to JBER)

“I thank all of the organizations who made it possible to expand this important program to JBER. Members of our military have emotional scars that are not easily visible, but still need extensive care. While there are many barriers we must overcome to ensure those who need care receive it, we cannot lose sight of how important it is to broaden access to programs that are proving beneficial to the treatment of our service members, veterans, and their families," said Murkowski.

(Sen. Murkowski speaks to Col. Yates, 673rd Medical Group Commander and Saunders McNeill of Alaska State Council on the Arts)

The Military Healing Arts program focuses on two main components of art therapy that can help enhance overall care: the clinical setting and community engagement.

  • Clinical settings: The clinical setting for the program provides the multidisciplinary approach, integrating art therapists with healthcare professionals to create individual treatment plans that proved successful at the other locations. NEA funding helps provide the staffing of credentialed art therapists (including but not limited to music, art, and writing) to help with program support at the selected locations.
  • Community: Community programs are designed to help connect military populations with art providers and locations that exist in communities where they live. NEA will work with the network of state, local, and regional art agencies along with service organizations to develop strategies to make these connections. 

Related Issues: Veterans