Posted on November 08, 2016

Hamad General Hospital (HGH) – a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) – in collaboration with the University College London (UCL) – Qatar, recently organized a celebratory event to highlight the success of their most recent collaboration - an Arts and Healing Program.

The primary goal of this initiative was to boost the identity of the pediatric patient population within HGH, by creating more child-friendly environments via culturally appropriate, visual art mediums.

Supported by Dr Mohammed Janahi, Chairman of the Pediatric Department and Ms. Maitha Al-Bouainain, Executive Director, Community Affairs and Patient Engagement (HGH), the plans for this recent collaboration were initiated early this year. A total of five art workshops were then held in April and May in various locations throughout HGH. Workshops participants included pediatric patients, their families and visitors, and HGH clinical and administrative staff.

“We are pleased that our pediatric patients had the opportunity to engage in the Arts and Healing program while staying with us. It was of great value to the children as it helped them stay busy and happy during their journey to recovery. We could almost feel its positive effect on their healing,” said Dr. Janahi.

A professional artist, Ms. Verity Watkins, was contracted by UCL – Qatar to consult on the project, curate the original artwork created during the five workshops and finalize all associated imagery. As a result, colorful, art filled ceiling tiles and wall graphics were placed in the following Pediatric Units at HGH:

  • Al Suquur Unit (Falcon) – Pediatric General Medical
  • Al Jimaal Unit (Camel) – Pediatric Medical/Nephrology/Neurology
  • Emergency – Traumatic Resuscitation Unit

HGH Arts & Healing Program [qatarisbooming.com].jpg

Volunteers for this latest HGH Arts and Healing initiative included representatives from the Child Life Service Department, HGH Clinical staff, members of the HGH Pediatric Volunteer Mentorship Program, Child Life Specialist - JANA Trainees, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) staff, University College London (UCL) – Qatar staff and Sidra Medical and  Research Center’s Child Life Service Department staff.

“When children are required to stay in the hospital for longer lengths of time to receive the medical treatment they need, they often begin to feel sad and isolated, however through their involvement in our HGH Arts and Healing program, by creating beautiful pieces of art, children have exhibited a renewed sense of energy and are evidently very proud of having created a legacy they will be known for,” said Ms. Holly Clark, Head of HMC Child Life Services.

Mr. John Bull, Head of Public Engagement and Professional Development at UCL – Qatar said: “As a center of excellence for the study of cultural heritage, we at UCL – Qatar are thrilled to see the positive outcome of this initiative with HGH. We are glad that the program is achieving its aim of promoting the idea that engaging children in artistic pursuits can significantly enhance their emotional wellbeing and psychological state and therefore diminish their physical pain.”

A desert landscape mural previously created in 2014 as part of the HGH Arts and Healing Program in partnership with UCL– Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art was also included in the latest program and given a new lease of life. The original mural, which was created by professional artists, Abdelazim Mahgoub Elhussein Hamed and Emelina Soures, from pediatric patient drawings of animals, plants, architecture and landscape, was painted directly on a wall in HGH’s 2 North 3 Unit.

The unit is being repurposed for adults so the original mural was digitally photographed and the imagery replicated in the 6 South corridor, a current pediatric area. All activities related to this recent collaboration were generously funded by the University College London (UCL) – Qatar via their Public Engagement and Professional Development Department.

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