Current Scholar

Shanaé Burch

EDD Student, Health Education
Shanaé Burch
Academic Institution: Columbia University Location: New York, New York Cohort Start Year: 2018
Research Topics: Arts in Health and Healing, Behavioral and Mental Health, Community/Civic Engagement, Education, Public, Population, and Community Health
Populations Served: African-American/Black, Children and Families, Low-Income Communities, People with Addictions, People with Disabilities, Urban Communities, Women's Health

Shanaé’s research in health behavior will explore the effects of arts participation and cultural engagement on health outcomes. In response to nearly nine out of 10 adult Americans having trouble using everyday health information that is regularly presented in health care settings, marketing, media, and communities, Shanaé’s interests include the use of theater and storytelling as a tool to examine and address complex issues, such as the social determinants of health. Her central focus is to conduct research on social connectedness and creativity that translates to improving the well-being of population groups most likely to experience low levels of health literacy due to age, race or ethnicity, education, language, culture, and access to resources.

Shanaé is a digital and performance storyteller who earned her BFA in Acting at Emerson College and Master’s in Arts in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She wholeheartedly believes art can influence the multiplication of health advocates across sectors, as well as champion health-affirming policies and cross-collaborative practices. Shanaé continues to work as a proud member of her union, Actors Equity Association.

In Pursuit of Healthful Narratives: Black Women and/or Gender-Expansive Citizens Creating and Performing Art and Cultural Work in Service of “Good Health”

Ethical questions arise for the “arts in public health” field when we make statements that “art is healing” without repair for the harm of how cultural industries contribute to racial capitalism and health inequities. This study entails conducting a scoping review of the “theatre for health” literature, creating and performing a theatrical production that promotes Black health, and interviewing Black women and/or gender—expansive persons who are artists and cultural workers across the Black Atlantic. In pursuit of generating more healthful narratives, the anticipated findings will generate deeper understanding about the motivations and beliefs of Black artists and cultural workers through narrative analysis — informing future priorities and policy recommendations concerning health promotion, civic participation, and cultivating a sense of kinship with community care.


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