• Press Release

Mount Sinai Awarded Grant to Assess Music’s Impact on Well-Being, Depression

National Endowment for the Arts funds a collaboration between the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute

  • New York, NY
  • (April 27, 2023)

The Mount Sinai Health System Assessment of Music Experiences in Navigating Depression (AMEND Lab) at the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to investigate how music and music therapy can influence mood and alter depression symptoms across vulnerable populations.

“As a musician, I’ve always been involved in community music, and the beauty of this grant is that it connects our center with Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute,” said Joanne Loewy, DA, LCAT, MT-BC, the founding Director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the first music therapist to be inducted as a Fellow into the New York Academy of Medicine.

“A cornerstone of the study is ‘social prescribing,’ a concept that is widely used in Europe,” Dr. Loewy explained. “It involves thinking of music less as a recreational activity, and more as a foundational prescription for everyday life. We will look at questions such as, ‘How can having music and performances as part of your weekly or monthly calendar influence the way you work or play in society and with others?’”

In addition, the investigators will examine factors such as participants’ musical history (“How were you raised on music?”) and how they listen to music (e.g., through headphones, earbuds, in person) and compare the impact of various music interventions on depression and resilience, mood and affect, sleep quality, and quality of life.

The study will also involve working one-on-one with individuals with clinical depression to explore in depth how music therapy impacts their depression. Populations of particular interest include children, teens, and college students with depression who may be at risk for suicide; first-time parents of preterm infants; and older adults with neurologic diseases.

Related planned products from the grant include recordings of "well-being" music concerts held for the participants, research articles, conference presentations, and a standardized assessment tool and manual that will inform creative arts therapists and other health care professionals about the impacts that music engagement may have on depression.

These investigations and innovations build on Dr. Loewy’s 30-year career as a researcher exploring the power of music as medicine. Recent studies at the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine include examinations of music therapy’s effects in people with long COVID; on patients in fragile environments, such as oncology waiting rooms; on the neurology of pain; on sleep improvement; and on physiological and developmental function in premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“Medical researchers mainly look at quantitative measures when assessing disease outcomes, but there’s always often an emotional aspect that can have an impact on outcomes,” said Dr. Loewy. “We often don’t consider how something like music therapy can affect the disease process. I’m honored to have the opportunity to continue exploring the value of our interventions, particularly in the lives of vulnerable individuals.”

Additional partners in the NEA-funded study include Cooper Union, Third Street Music School, Young Adults Institute, and Lincoln Center Moments. 

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

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