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UK to offer music therapy study planned

The University of Kentucky's new Chandler Medical Center will offer state-of-the-art medical treatments — including musical therapy to foster healing.

The UK Board of Trustees on Tuesday accepted a $1 million gift from the Lucille Caudill Little Foundation as the first step toward a $3 million endowment to support Kentucky's first graduate-degree program in music therapy within the UK School of Music, and to provide musical therapy for patients at the new UK hospital.

It will be called the Lucille Caudill Little Performing Arts in Healthcare Program, combining both education and treatment.

On the education side, a new graduate faculty position and curriculum for music therapy will be created. Officials expect that the first graduate students would enter the program in fall 2010.

On the treatment side, student and faculty musicians would present performances for patients in the new hospital's 300-seat auditorium.

Those unable to come to the auditorium could watch and hear via electronic connections in their hospital rooms. Plans also call for transmitting performances to patients at the St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead and other area hospitals.

Also, UK patients could request that musicians come to their rooms to play, and UK officials say opportunities will be provided for patients to create their own music.

Finally, UK faculty and students would conduct collaborative research on music's effect on healing.

"There is data showing that music improves patients' state of mind; that it helps get people out of the hospital faster; and that patients actually heal somewhat better," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK's executive vice president for health care. "But there are still many questions to be answered."

Ben Arnold, director of the UK School of Music, called the cooperative effort by the schools of music and medicine an "opportunity to change people's lives."

The gift from the Lucille Caudill Little Foundation will be matched by Bucks for Brains funding and other philanthropy to create the planned $3 million endowment for the program, UK officials said.