UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine (AIM) was founded in 1990 at Shands Hospital (now UF Health Shands) at the University of Florida. AIM is a multidisciplinary organization, with programs in the visual, literary and performing arts. AIM serves inpatients and outpatients of all ages, their families, visitors, health care providers, and the Gainesville and statewide communities. The program is focused on transforming healthcare environments through the arts and providing leadership for hospital arts programs throughout the nation.

Our program facilitates arts activities, workshops and performances in three hospitals and numerous out-patient clinics, and is known internationally as one of the leaders in the field of arts in healthcare.

Arts in Medicine Programs at UF Milestones:

  • 1990 – Established a rotating exhibition program at Shands Cancer Center
  • 1991 – Welcomed AIM’s first “in hospital” artist in residence
  • 1992 – Established Shands’ art acquisition program
  • 1994 – Launched the Atrium Performance Series
  • 1996 – Installed The Healing Wall
  • 1996 – Established the nation’s first university level coursework in the Arts in Medicine
  • 1998 – Began the Healing Ceilings
  • 1999 – Established the UF Center for Arts in Medicine (formally the Center for Arts in Healthcare Research and Education or CAHRE), our academic extension at UF for education, training and research
  • 2004 – Established AIM Together – a groundbreaking partnership with the University of Florida Performing Arts
  • 2005 – Following Hurricane Katrina, established the first ever artists training program for the American Red Cross in conjunction with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana to offer aid to disaster areas
  • 2006 – Established an artist exchange and artist in residence program with the Mater Hospital in Kenya, Africa
  • 2008 – UF Center for Arts in Medicine launched the Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities initiative in Franklin County, FL
  • 2009 – Developed programs for patients with Parkinson’s Disease in collaboration with the UF Health Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases (formerly the UF Center for Movement Disorders)
  • 2009 – Opened the Criser Cancer Resource Center
  • 2012 – Established Integrative Therapies for inpatients & Arts Therapies programs
  • 2014 – UF Center for Arts in Medicine established first online Master’s degree program for Arts in Medicine
  • 2014 – Opening of the UF Health Children’s Hospital Lobby
  • 2015 – Musicians in residence work with Center for Arts in Medicine faculty on the first research study about live, preferential music in Adult Emergency care
  • 2016 – Established 352Creates – a network of individuals, organizations, and businesses united by the idea that creativity connects our community and makes us healthier and stronger
  • 2017 – First generation of artists in residence retire after two decades of service
  • 2018 – Tom Petty Birthday Bash is established to support AIM music programs through the Music in Medicine Fund
  • 2019 – Created program’s first Dyadic Concordance study examining artist practice in inpatient settings
  • 2020- AIM celebrates 30 years of service
  • 2020 – Established AIM to Connect – a repository of virtual resources connecting patients, their families, and staff to art-making, music, mindfulness & meditation, dance, and literary arts virtual resources
  • 2022 – AIM welcomes new director, Jenny Baxley Lee
  • 2022- AIM celebrates the one-year anniversary of Shift Change Radio Hour
  • 2024 – AIM welcomes artists in residence and integrative therapies practitioners as full-time employees after historically being contracted workers, further legitimizing the value of the work at UF Health Shands Hospital. Their titles changes to Arts in Medicine Practitioner.