The Jefferson Center of Immersive Arts for Health


Why the focus on Immersive Arts?

Research shows that art can have a positive impact on human health, specifically in healthcare environments. Most existing research focuses on static art (paintings, prints, or sculpture) or, more recently, Distraction Therapy with the use of virtual reality, which shows promising benefits in pain management and lowered anxiety.

One of the main features of this method is the creation of an immersive experience. We believe similar outcomes, could be achieved with dynamic or interactive art that could “immerse” the patient in such a way as to improve the overall healthcare experience, resulting in an improved physiological and psychological impact. By making the artwork dynamic, it becomes more immersive, by removing the need for a VR headset, the potential impact could affect more visitors across multiple platforms.

Unlike VR Distraction Therapy, the patient could, through adaptations of interactive design, choose their level of engagement, from simple observation, to co-creation, to full immersion, thus adding a level of agency to the experience, allowing the visitor to have a sense of control over certain aspects of their environment, which is often a source of anxiety during patient visits.
Through collaborations with Tom Igoe, professor of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, we are prototyping and programming adaptable experiences for testing and implementation.

“Access to positive distraction techniques, together with a sense of perceived control over the environment results in lower stress and improved overall patient well-being.” (Ulrich, 1991)

The Jefferson Center of Immersive Arts for Health lies at the intersection of creativity, research, academics, curation, patient experience, and community; linking Jefferson Center City with Jefferson East Falls, as well as with leading institutions in the field.

Ideas, just like Ecosystems thrive when they are varied and complex. Through broad collaborations we create miniature ecosystems, where we need the skills across disciplines to step out of the familiar. And that is where innovation is found.

Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

The Jefferson Center of Immersive Arts for Health, together with external partners, are bringing practical experience from art + design, scientific research, interactive physical computing, art therapy, curricular development and teaching, clinical practice, and curatorial expertise. We are looking to not only work with the best at Jefferson, but the best globally.

Together we are creating a program collaborative across disciplines, strategic in TJU’s Nexus Learning pedagogy, innovative in creativity, cutting edge in technology, grounded in science, and impactful to the overall health experience.