BSSR Resources, Methods, and Measures

Value & utilize *the arts* to develop more trauma-informed, culturally-responsive health research methods

Given increasing acknowledgements of culture and trauma as significant health determinants, it's clear that research methods failing to consider them may "do harm." In addition, if individuals or communities are unable or unwilling to communicate experiences via conventional approaches (if they are limited by ability, trauma, distrust, etc), then what data are we missing? What harms might we perpetuate? Integrating and valuing diverse forms of knowledge and communication--including the arts--is absolutely critical to the generation of quality data and equitable practice. While not yet standard in methods courses, evidence indicates that arts-based strategies can increase participation/retention, offer direct/immediate health benefits to participants, provide built-in dissemination options (performance, publication), and expand the knowledges we consider "dominant," "standard," and "valuable" (See Golden's article in QHR, 2020). Our studied communities are spaces in which health, health concerns, and lived experiences are being rigorously and robustly communicated long before researchers arrive to ask questions. Assuming we must initiate studies or needs assessments in a particular (conventional-research) idiom risks minimizing existing community assets while unnecessarily (re)centering researcher goals and demanding additional labor. When we value the arts as a source of data, we expand the knowledge to which we have access--including the many diverse ways in which humans define, perceive, and communicate about their well-being. Of course, effective integration of the arts into health research requires innovation, transdisciplinary team-building, and cross-sector collaboration, and vital exemplars provide promising paths forward. (See "Impact Thinking" out of JHU; "Creating Healthy Communities" out of UF; and the Rhode Island Dept of Health's "Arts in Health Network.")

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Idea No. 300