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Arts council leaders work to enrich visual ambiance at Summa Health

Healing Arts Leadership Council members (from left): Meg Stanton, Christine Havice and Sally Shaffer

With help from dedicated benefactors and volunteer leaders, Summa Health is accelerating efforts to surround patients, families, visitors and staff with the healing power of the arts. Studies show that a healing environment lowers blood pressure, curbs anxiety and depression, promotes relaxation, reduces pain by increasing production of endorphins, and enhances production of proteins that accelerate healing and lower the danger of infection.

To build on those benefits, members of the Healing Arts Leadership Council, which formed in 2016, are expanding the health system’s healing arts program under the direction of Christine Havice, chair; Meg Stanton, curatorial chair; administrative chair Dave Custodio, M.D., president of Summa Health System – Akron and St. Thomas Campuses; and physician chair Tara Scott, M.D., medical director of integrative medicine at Summa Health. The healing arts initiative complements integrative medicine, a multifaceted approach to patient care that considers the needs of the whole person — body, mind and spirit — and makes use of all appropriate therapies both conventional and alternative. 

With the new tower on the Akron Campus providing a blank canvas for visual artwork in 2019, the Healing Arts Leadership Council is taking the lead in commissioning and acquiring art to enrich the visual ambiance of Summa Health. The first priorities are well underway. 

In collaboration with the executive team, council members have selected world-renowned artist Diana Al-Hadid, a Kent State graduate now living in New York City, for the signature, two-story art in the tower lobby. Members also selected Stephen Canneto of Canneto Studios in Columbus to develop an original sculpture to display in the lawn outside the main entrance to the tower.

“We are looking for art that engages and attracts the viewer, art that is mindful, that supports a healing mission,” said Havice.

“The collection will focus on artists with an Ohio connection, either through birth, education, employment or place of residence," said Stanton. “Our aim is to create a hopeful, healing environment.” 

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Promise magazine and has been updated to include information on the artist for the signature sculpture.

For more information about supporting the Healing Arts program at Summa Health, contact Shelley Green, Senior Director of Development, Summa Foundation, at 330.375.6891 or


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