Royal Philharmonic leads music therapy for UCI Health stroke patients

Senior Health Services partners with orchestra for first west coast demonstration of its innovative rehabilitation program

January 22, 2024
uci student wearing red sweatshirt and uci student wearing blue sweatshirt helping senior woman play a stringed instrument
UCI music students assist a stroke survivor with playing an 
instrument as part of "Strokestra," a U.K. Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra music therapy program.

IN THE NEWS: Stroke survivors at UCI Health received a visit from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a demonstration of its innovative music therapy program, which has been available in the U.K. for 10 years.

It was the west coast’s first demonstration of “Strokestra,” an interactive rehabilitation workshop that incorporates creative music-making to foster patient-led recovery. Dr. Lisa Gibbs, the medical director of UCI Health Senior Health Services, spoke to ABC7 about how music affects the brain.

"We're interested in understanding how this works. We know that when people play music, it engages many, many different parts of the brain. The motor areas, the sensory areas, coordination, balance and how all those pathways work together."

Gibbs and the dedicated team at the UCI Health SeniorHealth Center were joined by students and faculty from the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Together, they plan to bring the program to patients here.

Gibbs is a clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine, chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at UC Irvine School of Medicine and the Reagan Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine. She is also the director of the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect.

Gibbs has led the development of innovative programs to advance the delivery of care, including a geriatric-focused Patient Centered Medical Home, and telemedicine program, including of tele-pharmacy and tele-consults. She has been the recipient of academic and leadership training beginning with the Geriatric Academic Career Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  

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