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Best Hospitals Provide Music Therapy

Rhythm & Reason Blog, Post By: James E. Riley, MM, MT-BC – (727) 350-7897,

Music Therapy is the specialized application of evidence-based music interventions to accomplish non-musical objectives through a relationship with a Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC).  Whereas “Music Medicine” is the use of passive music listening in waiting rooms, surgery centers, emergency departments, and other hospital locations, “Music Therapy” has a rich history of research and is a recognized allied healthcare profession with comprehensive training requirements to prepare the MT-BC for the challenges of serving medical and counseling populations.

Music Therapy programs add value to organizations through increased patient satisfaction, procedural efficiency, program marketability, and clinical outcomes.  Medical Music Therapy is an important part of many hospitals’ interdisciplinary teams in general medical surgical units, and especially in rehabilitation, neonatal care, oncology, hospice, and pediatrics.

Pediatric Music Therapy is booming.  Last year, the Atlanta, GA based George Center for Music Therapy, Inc. responded to the U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals by analyzing which hospitals “get it.”  Now the results for the 2015 Honor Roll are in, and let’s see which of the top 10 Children’s Hospital feature Music Therapy programs:


1.  YES – Boston Children’s Hospital has four Board Certified Music Therapists!  This top ranked hospital provides 114 patient contacts hours per week, and the MT program can offer the hospital increased cost/benefit by training up to eight highly qualified Music Therapy Interns at a time.1

2.  YES – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia offers Music Therapy in oncology and child life.2

3.  YES – Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has five MT-BCs and a Music Therapy Internship program.3

4.  YES – Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston started a Music Therapy program in 2013.  Congratulations!4

5.  YES – Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora includes Music Therapy through the Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program.5

6.  YES – Seattle Children’s Hospital markets two MT-BCs in this beautiful video, and writes that, “In fiscal year 2014, there were 1,526 music therapy sessions conducted hospital wide.”6

7.  YES – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles promotes the Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program, led by Alexandra Field, MT-BC, NICU-MT and heals patients through music, art, dance, drama, and expressive arts therapies.7

8.  YES – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC provides Music Therapy through their Child Life Department.8

9.  YES – Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio has some awesome Music Therapists.  Wanna meet them?  Check out this video as well as their featured episode on “PediaCast,” the “pediatric podcast for parents” “with over 300 episodes, 2 million downloads, and listeners in all 50 states and more than 100 countries around the world.”9

10.  YES – Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. featured creative arts and “therapeutic music,” but has recently established a true Music Therapy program, naming Clarissa Karlsson, MT-BC, their Director of Music Therapy for the Children’s Center on Cancer and Blood Disorders, to focus on the Hematology and Oncology units.  Huge Congratulations!  See Clarissa in this great video.10



10 out of 10, 100% of America’s top ranked Children’s Hospitals now provide Music Therapy for their patients, families, and staff.  Music has been an important part of child development and wellbeing since antiquity, but Music Therapy has only emerged as a research and clinical expertise based healthcare profession within the last century.  As this compassionate, evidence-based, innovative, non-invasive, non-pharmacological, cost-efficient, and highly-acclaimed treatment modality gains recognition, it may be time for your community or healthcare organization to hire a Board Certified Music Therapist.


If you check out the U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals 2015-16: Honor Roll and Overview, you’ll notice that there are two additional hospitals tied for 11th place.  The trend of top hospitals choosing Music Therapy continues: Both Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta feature Music Therapy programs.  So indeed, 12 out of 12 of America’s top ranked Children’s Hospitals understand the incredible value of Music Therapy.

And finally, as the George Center notes, “based on the method behind the rankings, it’s not likely that gains from music therapy programs are directly measured and accounted for.”11  “However,” as the highly respected Jamie George continues, “It DOES show us that the best of the best ‘get it’ when it comes to music therapy.  They understand the impact music therapy can have on medical outcomes for patients, their satisfaction level, and the fiscal gains that are possible with medical music therapy.”

Be social!  Share this exciting update online and wherever you go.  Follow Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC on Facebook and on Twitter @mtstpete, or call (727) 350-7897 for more information about Music Therapy services in the Greater St. Petersburg, FL area.  If any corrections need to be made to this article, please e-mail

Show 11 footnotes

  1. 07/15 articles announced program of 4 MT-BCs, “Dana, Joanna, Brian and James spend 114 hours a week with patients in a variety of inpatient, outpatient and satellite areas”
  2. 12/13 article features MA, MT-BC, his info: “Mike Mahoney, MA, MT-BC, is a music therapist in the Cancer Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia specializing in child and adolescent mental health” works in Cancer Center, phone given

    Also, Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy includes nice description of Art and Music Therapy, “provided on several units in the Main Hospital and The Children’s Seashore House. Individual therapy sessions are provided on a referral basis”

  3. Brief on department Five MT-BCs, And little more on services And finally, their MT internship program
  4. Articles published 08/13 announced Houston launching new MT program, “The Music Therapy program is a part of the Creative Arts Therapy program in the Child Life Department which provides developmental, educational and therapeutic interventions for children undergoing medical treatment” and still mentioned on “Services” page

    Amy R. Smith, MA, MT-BC featured in great video about MT program and she’s listed in “Our Team”

  5.  Does have page about their Music Therapy program w/the Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program in Children’s Hospital Colorado with “eight masters and doctoral level creative arts therapists, three dedicated studio spaces and two exhibition galleries”

    Tony Edelblute, LPC, MT-BC works in Ponzi, but in Denver, which is immediately adjacent and presumably same department in Aurora, b/c independent city of Aurora is in “Greater Denver Area” and often grouped together… since 2003 until at least a 03/14 post and yes, he published a book Transforming Behavior which credits him to CHC in Aurora

  6.  Two MT-BCs on nice descriptor page w/video. “In fiscal year 2014, there were 1,526 music therapy sessions conducted hospital wide. Knott sees patients throughout the hospital while Hartman focuses her time in the Cancer Unit.”
  7.  Although labeled very heavily only as expressive therapies and only marketing expressive therapy internship, etc., the Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program indeed uses art, dance, drama, music and expressive arts therapies. The program is led by the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Artists Program Lead- Alexandra Field, MT-BC, NICU-M

    Another release describes program

  8.  Specifies MT-BCs work under the Child Life Department
  9.  Page about program which serves all in-patient areas of hospital, has video, and info on AMTA approved internship

    Nationwide Children’s Hospital MT-BCs Jennifer Yurkovich, Sarah Groh, and Lelia Emery also were featured on “PediaCast,” a “pediatric podcast for parents” “with over 300 episodes, 2 million downloads, and listeners in all 50 states and more than 100 countries around the world”

  10. There is a page on Children’s National which mentions Music Therapist Clarissa Karlsson (, who was featured in a 2013 article and described as a “board-certified music therapist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.”

    Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services describes their therapeutic music program, and “music therapist” is listed on team for Blood and Marrow Transplantation

    But here’s the exciting part – the American Music Therapy Association published, “Two Prestigious DC-Based Organizations Start Music Therapy Programs,” which describes how social worker Lynn Hardesty, LCSW, advocated Children’s National to establish an approved Music Therapy program. The hospital named Clarissa Karlsson, MT-BC, their first Director of Music Therapy for their Children’s Center on Cancer and Blood Disorders, to focus on the Hematology and Oncology units. Clarissa is also earning her graduate degree through Drexel University

  11. Retrieved August 13th, 2015 from