Our history and mission

Creative Health Collaborations was first conceived in 2015 to encourage collaborations between ASU faculty in health, humanities, arts and design. In the spring of 2017, CHC joined the Team Leadership Academy of Knowledge Enterprise, a capacity-building initiative designed to foster ASU’s readiness to respond to new research challenges and advance initiatives of central importance to ASU.

Our mission is to identify and integrate methods and approaches from the arts and design, alongside the humanities and health and social sciences, to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities. We develop, evaluate, and promote innovative interventions that are culturally resonant and rigorously researched.

Our strategic goals

Research has shown that such an integrative approach shows great promise in addressing both the underlying social determinants of health, and for the most complex of health conditions, for which traditional medical approaches alone may fall short (WHO 2019). Given ASU’s significant resources across our Schools in the areas of arts, design, humanities, and health, we seek to pursue this aim through the following means:

1. Strengthen and standardize integrative research frameworks

  • Arts, design and humanities approaches can profoundly impact both the delivery of actual health care and the social determinants of health.
  • However, there is a lack of common interdisciplinary frameworks to intentionally promote and scale up the integration of arts into health systems, broadly defined
  • These frameworks should facilitate the creation, documentation, dissemination, and scaling up of evidence-based art + design + humanities approaches into research, education, practice, and intervention design in the health and wellbeing space.
  • We aim to fill this critical gap.

2. Build a community of practice in integrative approaches to health education and training

  • ASU is home to the nation’s largest comprehensive arts and design school, and significant numbers of students in health professional programs across multiple units
  • We are emerging leaders in the area of medical humanities
  • We have partnerships with training hospitals and medical schools that are nationally and internationally renowned, and with educational institutions around the world
  • We aim to create a pipeline of trained health professionals working at this interdisciplinary intersection.​​​​​​​


3. Build capacity for evidence-based arts + design + humanities approaches in intervention design 

  • As a public research university without a medical school but with plenty of cross-sector expertise, ASU has freedom and flexibility in designing research and interventions and can be responsive to needs of multiple external partners in health.
  • We aim to develop, evaluate and promote innovative interventions that are culturally resonant and rigorously researched.​​​​​​


4. Build a knowledge base for research, education, practice, and policy

  • Through networking events, conference convenings, curricular and training offerings, and practice-tested research, we will build a knowledge base that helps address not only what works in this intersectional space, but also how, why, where, when and for whom it works best.
  • We aim to build a knowledge base that will ultimately inform policy at all levels relative to the integration of arts, design and humanities into health.​​​​​​​


5. Secure sustainable support

  • We strategically pursue sector-specific funding as we cultivate new relationships with sponsors willing to underwrite research at the intersection of arts, design, humanities and health. As evidence grows and we build our knowledge base,
  • We aim to create a landscape change for funding interdisciplinary, intersectional research and practice integrating arts, design, humanities and health.   

Whether from within ASU or the communities we serve, artists, designers and humanities experts interested in building evidence for their health-related practice can consult with the CHC team to design interventions and research studies, while health scientists and practitioners can find expertise and collaborators from the fields of humanities, arts and design. To learn more, read about our Dynamic Process Framework.