Originally a graduate gerontology thesis at Miami University, Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is now an internationally recognized creative arts program celebrating its 10th Anniversary!
Dr. Elizabeth Lokon, founder and director of OMA, began with the intent to serve those with dementia, as they are often the most overlooked population. Dementia tends to affect one’s ability to communicate and socialize with others. As a result, many people living with dementia in long-term care facilities are left disengaged and lonely.
Through the years, Dr. Lokon found that despite the degenerative effects of the disease, their imagination is still very active and they can emotionally connect with others in deeply meaningful ways. The combination of these two elements gave birth to Opening Minds through Art. Now, ten years later, the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University program has grown to serve thousands of people in North America in over 150 sites. This expansion was made possible by a significant grant from the Ohio Department of Medicaid.
When asked where OMA will be in ten years, Dr. Lokon responded, “I would like to see OMA being offered to students in medical schools and all allied health professions so that they can be more person-centered in their jobs. As a result, older adults, with and without dementia, can have better health care experiences and outcomes.”
A pilot project involving the following medical schools is already underway:
- The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM)
- Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUHCOM)
- Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
- The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences
- Penn State College of Medicine
- University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Follow OMA on social media and in our newsletters to watch our progress into the next decade!