Evidence Map of Arts-Based Health Interventions:
Results of a Community-engaged Scoping Review of the Literature


In 2016, the state of Rhode Island began developing a state health plan. As a part of this process, Rhode Island’s Department of Health and Council for the Arts created an advisory group of 30 individuals—which included researchers, artists, and clinicians—to explore ways of integrating arts into the health care system. The advisory group decided to take a community-engaged evidence synthesis approach, wherein the researchers taught local artists and other members of the advisory group how to conduct a scoping review. The evidence map below is one of the outputs of this process: 481 studies evaluating the health effects of an arts-based intervention.

What is included in our map?

When we started this project, we acknowledged that this evidence map  would not be an exhaustive list of all evidence in the field - this was an initial attempt to identify existing evidence on research in the field to characterize 1) which populations have been studied 2) which arts-based interventions have been studied and 3) which outcomes were used to measure the impact of the interventions as a focused evidence review to inform our local work. 

This visualization represents the population and intervention data we identified.

Our project started out as a small project to inform local recommendations, and so that is the lens we applied to the literature. We wanted to begin to understand how these interventions were studied and the variety of ways in which these interventions were developed and delivered. We only included studies that documented populations, interventions and outcomes in their abstracts and applied additional inclusion/exclusion criteria to ensure the articles we identified were relevant and useful to our local context, our local healthcare system and community. As we started talking about our project with others, the response from the community has been wonderful and supportive, so we wanted to share our work with a larger community outside of Rhode Island. 

How to get involved

We intend to update and improve our map to have more functionality to support improved evidence uptake in the field of arts and health. In 2019, we hope to begin a community-based data gathering project - if you’d like your study to be included or would like to be involved, please contact us!