Peabody Institute faculty members have long been involved in teaching, research, and conference activities focused on the intersection between music and medicine. But the creation last fall of a one-year, full-time research faculty position to support health and wellness research marks the beginning of a new, sustained, and strategic approach to music and medicine at Peabody.
Serap Bastepe-Gray (BM ’96, MM ’99, Guitar), a member of the Conservatory guitar faculty who also holds a Doctor of Medicine, has been appointed as the Institute’s first research faculty member in musician health and wellness. With the appointment, Dr. Bastepe-Gray will hold a secondary appointment in the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research is focused on developing instrumentation and protocols for accurate upper extremity biomechanical assessments. The goals: to screen for occupational injuries in musicians and to facilitate development of evidence-based, return-to-play work-conditioning programs in musicians with playing- related musculoskeletal and neurological disorders.
“This is such a unique and tremendously exciting opportunity, both for me personally and for Peabody as an institution,” says Dr. Bastepe-Gray. “Through this partnership, we will have the capacity to field much-needed research and begin to develop truly evidence-based wellness education for performing artists.”
With connections to both Peabody and the School of Medicine, the faculty research position is the first tangible outcome of an overarching Music and Medicine strategic planning process being led by Sarah Hoover, special assistant to the dean for innovation, interdisciplinary partnerships, and community initiatives.
Other recent activities have included the convening of Peabody and Medicine faculty members engaged in interdisciplinary music/medicine research projects to facilitate greater collaboration and communication about current and future projects; plans to co-host MedChi’s annual Performing Arts Medicine forum on April 2, including presentations by Peabody and Medicine faculty; and exploratory conversations around several budding partnerships, including a proposed Center for Music and Medicine jointly overseen by Peabody and the Department of Neurology.
“There is so much exciting potential for Peabody in this arena,” says Dr. Hoover. “With the creation of this research position and other efforts underway to strengthen our relationship with Johns Hopkins Medicine, Peabody is poised to be at the forefront of the field of performing arts medicine.”
— Tiffany Lundquist