The COVID pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance of music and other arts to all of humanity. But their power and their value go far beyond easing us through difficult times. The arts don’t just allow us to “feel” something; scientists are now providing evidence on how they actually improve health and well-being. How does music (and the arts) affect the brain and help improve overall health? What is its potential as a therapy for neurological disorders? For helping to promote well-being? Learn about the burgeoning field of NeuroArts that lies at the interdisciplinary intersection of the arts, research, health, and technology with world-renowned soprano Renee Fleming in conversation with the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins, moderated by NPR science correspondent Jon Hamilton.
Dr. Francis Collins
Director, National Institutes of Health
Francis Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health. A physician-geneticist noted for his discoveries of disease genes, he led the international Human Genome Project, which culminated with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book in 2003. Collins was director of the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008. Prior to NIH, he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at University of Michigan. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009.
Soprano; Co-Director, Aspen Opera Theater; Artistic Advisor at Large, Kennedy Center
Renée Fleming is an acclaimed soprano who sings in the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls. She’s the only classical artist to ever sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl (2014) and co-director of Aspen Opera Theater. As artistic advisor to the Kennedy Center, Fleming spearheads a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health focused on music, health, and neuroscience. She has presented her Music and the Mind talks around the world, earning Research!America’s Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion. Other honors include four Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit, and France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
Correspondent, Science Desk, NPR
Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR’s Science Desk who focuses on neuroscience and health risks. Hamilton went to Liberia in 2014 as part of the NPR team that covered Ebola and to Japan to cover the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. He contributed several pieces to the Science Desk series “The Human Edge,” which looked at what makes people the most versatile and powerful species on Earth. In 2009, Hamilton received the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for his piece on the neuroscience behind treating autism. Before joining NPR in 1998, Hamilton was a media fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation studying health policy issues.