Arts & Health South West has appointed Alex Coulter its first Director

Arts & Health South West, the regional information, support and advocacy organisation for those working to enhance people’s health and wellbeing through the use of creativity and the arts, is delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Coulter as its first Director. Alex will officially take up her new post from September 2010.

Alex Coulter joins Arts & Health South West at a critical time for those working in the field of arts and health. With over 12 years experience of facilitating arts programmes within health settings, Alex is well placed to lead Arts & Health South West through this time of rapid changes in the NHS against a backdrop of cuts in public services. Her experience will enable her to support the organisation in guiding health professional and artists to make the most of the opportunities presented by the changing health environment which marks a shift towards greater expectations placed on the voluntary sector to deliver health and wellbeing in communities.

Alex will keep Arts & Health South West members informed of the latest developments in Health and in Arts and Health nationally and internationally through an online blog entitled ‘Alex’s Digest’ to be launched in October 2010.

”I am very excited about having the opportunity to develop Arts & Health South West at a strategic level so that we can advocate for the benefits of arts and health with decision makers and medical professionals.” said Alex.

“The current situation is both a challenge and an opportunity for those working in the field. I am very aware that a critical area for development concerns the evidence base and providing access to it so that our members can easily identify existing evidence relating to a given health outcome or priority. Arts & Health South West can provide an invaluable service in improving access to the relevant research and evaluation which is essential in responding to health commissioning.

“I am keen to engage more directly with the health sector and encourage health professionals to join Arts & Health South West so that we can create a good dialogue between professionals working in health, the arts and arts & health and provide more of the kind of arts & health projects and services which the health sector really needs.

“I also think we need to play a role in ‘translating’ health policy and priorities so that those already working in arts & health understand how to tailor their work to respond to health needs. We can also provide health professionals with the information they need to get involved in arts & health work.” she added.

ENDS
Contact for more information: Emma Williams, Arts & Health South West Co-ordinator
Tel: 0117 907 3861 e: info@ahsw.org.uk Date of issue: September, 2010

Notes to Editors:
Alex Coulter’s previous experience includes 12 years working as an Arts Co ordinator in the NHS, experience of developing arts programmes in acute trusts and primary care settings, as well as being involved in local authority partnership work on health and wellbeing. Her most recent role was as regional coordinator for REACH, which involved 10 health and 5 arts partners in delivering art & health projects in Bristol, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

Arts & Health South West is an information, support and advocacy organisation for people who believe in the value of creativity in enhancing people’s health and wellbeing. As a free membership organisation Arts & Health South West is open to any individual or organisation with an interest in or actively engaged in arts and health activity.
www.ahsw.org.uk

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