Meet our Operational Committees: Dance for Health Committee

In the next few blog posts we will be introducing our Operational Committees. Operational Committees work on the short and long-term goals driven by the strategic plan and vision of the organization. Each committee has a specific purpose and works closely with the Board of Directors and IADMS staff to accomplish their goals.

We have ten committees, which include the following:

  • Dance Educators
  • Dance for Health
  • Development
  • Physician
  • Professional Development
  • Program
  • Promotion
  • Publications
  • Research
  • Student

We asked each of our committees to share with us information about what their committee is about and what work they get up to. Below you will see responses from the Dance for Health Committee.


What work within IADMS is the Dance for Health Committee responsible for?

The Dance for Health Committee is an interdisciplinary team of teaching artists, dance educators, researchers, and healthcare professionals. The committee promotes innovation in research and best practice, bringing together the healthcare and dance sectors to facilitate the implementation of dance-based interventions within evolving health and social structures. Advocating for dance as a life-long partner for health and well-being, the Dance for Health Committee builds collaborations among multidisciplinary stakeholders to influence national and international dance for health policy.


What is the mission/vision statement for the Dance for Health Committee?

Mission: The IADMS DfH Committee promotes innovative research and dance practice, cultivating medical, scientific, and artistic excellence in the field of ‘dance for health’.

Vision: Promoting dance as a life-long partner for health and well-being.


Who are your current members?

Chair: Clare Guss-West, MA

Åsa N. Åström, BA

Rebecca Barnstaple, PhD, MA

Erica Rose Jeffery, PhD

Emily Jenkins, MA

Kai Kumiyo, MFA

Nicoletta P Lekka, MD, PhD, MSc

David Leventhal, BA

Fran Anthony Meyer, PhD

Hanna Poikonen, PhD

Andrea Schärli, PhD

Rachel Ward, PhD

Elinor Harrison, PhD


What are some of the recent projects your committee has been working on?

The most significant activity the committee is undertaking is an ‘International Benchmarking of Dance in Health’ (IBODIH) - a bridging initiative between the dance and healthcare sector to recognise consistent best practice and to facilitate the prescription of Dance in/and for Health. The most comprehensive level of IADMS Benchmark validation will correlate directly with certification as a recognised international Non-Pharmacological Intervention (NPI).

The DfH Research subcommittee is currently collating ´Considerations for Program Best Practice’ for the IADMS website. This initiative follows on from our Infographic ‘Considerations for developing a Dance for Health program’ (available in English and French) which poses many reflective questions for teaching artists and program directors. It will connect Best Practice considérations with the International Benchmark measures.

The DfH Advocacy subcommittee undertake extensive communications activities both within the IADMS membership (DfH Champions professional development) and beyond (Private Global Dance for Health Facebook Group) with a Knowledge Translation initiative to ensure that research and advances in the field are translated, accessible and inclusive, reaching interested parties and those working in the field in both sectors.


Read more about the Dance for Health Committee in our Committee Charter: