Recent studies in the field of neuroscience illustrate the importance of creativity across our life spans. Using examples such as ballet lessons before kindergarten, band practice in college, and music therapy following a stroke, among others, this Public Advocacy Forum panel explores how and why the arts influence us so deeply and how we can use creativity to be healthier and more productive throughout our lives.
Nina Kraus, PhD
Nina Kraus is a professor of neurobiology and physiology, and otolaryngology, and a Hugh Knowles Chair in the department of communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern University. She is a scientist, inventor, and amateur musician who studies the biology of auditory learning. Through a series of innovative studies involving thousands of research participants from birth to age 90, her research has found that our lives in sound, for better (musicians, bilinguals) or worse (language disorders, aging, hearing loss), shapes how we hear. Using the principles of neuroscience to improve human communication, she advocates for best practices in education, health, and social policy. Kraus received her BA from Swarthmore College and PhD from Northwestern University.
Kenneth Elpus, PhD
Kenneth Elpus is an assistant professor of music education at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he prepares preservice choral music educators to teach in public secondary schools, teaches graduate courses in research methods, and conducts the University Women’s Choir. Elpus’ research interests include music education and public policy, music education as a context for adolescent development, the demographics of music students and music teachers, and the process of selection into music education. Prior, he was the choral music teacher at Hopewell Valley Central High School in Pennington, New Jersey. Elpus holds a Bachelor of Music in choral music education from The College of New Jersey and earned his Master’s and PhD in music education at Northwestern University, where he held a fellowship in the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience.
Ping Ho, MA, MPH
Ping Ho is the founder and director of UCLArts and Healing, which transforms lives through creative expression for self-discovery, connection, and empowerment by integrating the innate social-emotional benefits of the arts with mental health practices. UCLArts and Healing is an organizational member of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, of which Ho is a Steering Committee Member and was founding administrator. She was also founding administrator for the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, which led to the privilege of writing for Norman Cousins and co-writing the professional autobiography of George F. Solomon, MD, the founder of the field. Ho is a member of the Council of Advisers for the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health and the Steering Committee for the Association Leadership Council of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine. She has a BA in psychology with honors from Stanford, where she was appointed to spearhead the Health Improvement Program for faculty and staff; an MA in counseling psychology with a specialization in exercise physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and an MPH in community health sciences from UCLA School of Public Health.