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Fine arts meet healing arts during FESTIBA Librarians & Educators panel

Fine arts meet healing arts during FESTIBA Librarians & Educators panel

UTRGV hosted a panel discussion during FESTIBA Librarians & Educators Day, in which physicians and academics touted the benefits of using the arts to help train healthcare professionals. From left are moderator Ida Acuña-Garza, executive director of the South Texas Literacy Coalition; Jan Seale, 2012 Texas Poet Laureate; Dr. Leonel Vela, senior associate dean for Education and Academic Affairs of the UTRGV School of Medicine; Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTRGV provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. Steven Block, dean of the UTRGV College of Fine Arts; and Dr. Noel Lopez, physician, Palm Valley Medical Center.

By Jennifer L. Berghom

EDINBURG, TEXAS – MARCH 6, 2017 – A panel of physicians, educators and artists shared their experiences and opinions on the connection between arts and sciences and the subsequent benefits, at a special panel during UTRGV’s Festival of International Books and Arts (FESTIBA).

“Scientific endeavors and artistic endeavors are not mutually exclusive, by any means,” said Jan Seale, the 2012 Texas Poet Laureate, who participated in the panel discussion. “They are quite overlapping and quite enhancing one for the other.”

The panel was part of the FESTIBA Librarians and Educators Day, held Friday, March 3, at the University Ballroom on the Edinburg Campus. The panel elaborated on this year’s FESTIBA theme – the healing arts.

Ida Acuña-Garza, executive director of the South Texas Literacy Coalition, moderated the panel discussion. Joining Seale on the panel were:

  • Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTRGV provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.
  • Dr. Leonel Vela, senior associate dean for Education and Academic Affairs of the UTRGV School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Steven Block, dean of the College of Fine Arts.
  • Dr. Noel Lopez, physician, Palm Valley Medical Center.

Panelists discussed the benefits of incorporating the arts into the study and practice of medicine, and the importance of providing students with a well-rounded education that combines the arts and sciences to better prepare them for health-related careers. 

“We are at the inception stages of a new medical school at UTRGV and many other health initiatives throughout the Valley,” Block said, “and I believe the arts will play a very vital future role as we bring in better healthcare – healthcare to address the whole person – to the Valley.”

Rodríguez described the various endeavors the university has taken on to promote the arts and arts education in the Valley, including construction of the Performing Arts Complex, conversion of a former Walmart building into the university’s Visual Arts Building on Closner Boulevard,  and creation of the College of Fine Arts.

“UTRGV takes the arts very seriously,” he said. “They enhance the education attainment of our students, they enhance literacy and they prepare the next generations of students here at UTRGV to become successful, engaged, global citizens that make important contributions to the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.”

Vela and Lopez, both medical doctors who play musical instruments, said the skills developed by learning an instrument could be applied to practicing medicine.

Vela said medical schools now are incorporating arts into their curricula to better train future doctors.

“I frankly see that the healing arts will not only become incorporated, they will become part and parcel to medical education,” Vela said. 

Librarians and Educators Day also featured the Athlos Leadership Academy Recycling Fashion Show in collaboration with the UTRGV Office for Sustainability, and a keynote address by Macarena Hernandez, a former journalist and the Fred Hartman Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Baylor University.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Jennifer.Berghom@UTRGV.eduUTRGV Senior Writer / 956-665-7192

Marci.Caltabiano@UTRGV.eduUTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications / 956-665-2742