The Healing Power of Art: How a Certified PA in California Empowers Patients, Providers and Learners

The “art of medicine” is a term that many people are familiar with, typically used to describe the skillful way a health care provider applies medicine to a patient’s care. But for California-based Certified PA Katayoun Moini, this common phrase takes on a more literal meaning. 


In collaboration with another Certified PA, a family practice physician, a psychologist, and a dance artist, Moini founded 2MPOWER! just over one year ago. 2MPOWER! incorporates art, music, and dance into patient care and medical curriculums to promote holistic medical care, create innovative learning resources for current and future providers, and improve patient outcomes.


“We found that by incorporating art, music and dance into patient care and medical curriculums, we can enhance a person’s education, spirit, social responsibility and quality of life,” said Moini. “When people have an improved quality of life, they do better overall. I think sometimes we take for granted just how much of an impact enhancing the spirit can have on experiences and outcomes.”


Moini, who works in an oncology clinic, sees the impact first-hand.


“When people are in a health crisis and are in an extremely vulnerable place in their lives, art helps create a sense of normalcy and fun in a very somber and often sad setting,” she said. “Having my patients sing or do karaoke brings a lightness and fun to receiving chemotherapy. Providing these activities awakens their spirits, and creates a lightness in a place with a lot of heaviness,” she added.


According to Moini, 2MPOWER! has a two-fold impact. First, she says that medical providers who incorporate holistic care will experience less burnout and will be more likely to connect with their patients. In addition to offering resources on the 2MPOWER! website, Moini has developed and directed PA program curriculums that encourage art, dance, music, nutrition therapy and community engagement activities. The 2MPOWER! curriculum also incorporates unique learning modalities to help learners master complex medical topics.


“Some of the things we incorporated to create a balance between fun and education included songwriting workshops,” she said. “We would utilize medical topics to create lyrics for songs, and then we would have songwriting competitions between the students. You must make sense of it; the song has to be medically sound. It has to rhyme and it has to be enjoyable to listen to. And you have fun.”


Second, 2MPOWER! is focused on improving a patient’s quality of life and ultimately achieving better outcomes through their programming. In addition to incorporating art, dance, and music into their clinical settings and providing education for others to do the same, 2MPOWER! often receives requests from outside organizations interested in holistic resources.


“One of my 2MPOWER! collaborators, Certified PA Lindsay Kozicz, created a yoga and meditation program for one of our post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and substance use disorder facilities and would go every week to provide yoga to women who have endured extensive trauma and abuse,” she said. “It was unbelievable how well received that was and how much everyone looked forward to having that as part of their medical care.”


Currently, 2MPOWER! is working with Yale University and Touro University to create holistic online nutrition courses that incorporate innovative learning modalities. The organization also keeps in contact with alumni from other programs it has assisted with to continue to provide additional learning opportunities.


Moving forward, Moini says they hope to one day be able to expand 2MPOWER! to serve more patients, providers and students. For now, she is excited to see Certified PAs practicing the art of medicine – in multiple ways.


“As Certified PAs, we’re trained across all areas of medicine and adapt to any situation. We can thrive in any setting,” she said.