The UNMC College of Public Health and Dean Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH, have helped The Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAA) create a virtual celebration of the arts that this year also will feature a public health theme.
OEAA is a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating local visual artists, musicians, and performing artists. On Feb. 28, the 2021 edition of the award show will highlight intersections of art and public health in the Omaha community.
The UNMC College of Public Health is producing a video segment for the show that features the UNMC Healing Arts Program. Program director Amy Jenson and Colleen Heavican Cass, curator for the Healing Arts Program, will be showcasing on-campus artworks created by local artists.
"The connection the arts play in providing comfort and healing is tremendous," Jenson said. "The arts support the health and well-being of patients, their families, and their caregivers."
Additionally, Dr. Khan will appear virtually at the event to introduce the Healing Arts segment with a statement about the importance of art and its correlation to healing.
"The pandemic has limited our ability to interact, and we have been left seeking that human connection," Dr. Khan said. "One of the best ways we are able to connect with each other is through art. Music, sculpture, painting, dance, and a plethora of other mediums, they all elicit emotional responses that help us understand our place in the world and help us see the potential of what we could be at our best."
The OEAA has partnered with UNMC as the awards event approached, running a full-page ad in local alternative weekly The Reader to highlight Dr. Khan's Pandemic Exit Strategy as part of its commitment to supporting public health and the medical community.
"With the pandemic having so fundamentally disrupted the arts in Omaha and worldwide, we have strived to acknowledge overlap in local arts and health care communities while sharing our platform as an avenue for public health messaging at a time when such guidance is needed more than ever," said Doug Meigs, president of the OEAA Board of Directors, who works as an editor and project specialist in the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience.
The award show will be live-streamed on Facebook Feb. 28 at 5:45pm CST. It is free to the public.