AIM for Africa

Madeline Austin, Shands at the University of Florida Arts in Medicine program artist-in-residence, recently traveled to East Africa, bringing some of the gifts of the AIM program with her.

She first traveled to the Good Hope Orphanage in Tanzania, where she taught hand sewing and sewing on treadle machines. She also held doll-making classes for locals at Jifundishe (the library in the village of Imbaseni.)

AIM constantly evolves to enhance people’s overall experience in the health care setting. After influencing the development of many health care based arts programs throughout the United States, AIM now is building bridges far beyond the U.S. borders.

On a subsequent trip, Austin traveled with Rusti Brandman, PhD, UF College of Theatre and Dance and UF Center of the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education co-director. They went to Mater Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, to help initiate a hospital-based Arts in Medicine program. The trip was part of the AIM for Africa program created by the UF CAHRE.

Austin is creator and founder of Dollies Without Borders, a program in which people make handmade cloth dolls for orphans in developing countries. The dolls reflect the children’s ethnicity. She holds regular doll-making workshops in her home in Gainesville.

The first Wednesday of each month from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Austin will offer Dollies without Borders at Shands at UF in Charlie’s Corner, Room 5502. The workshops are free and open to patients, family and staff.

For information on Shands Arts in Medicine, please call 352-265-0151. For more information on the dolls, please visit