Center for Wellness in the Arts inaugurated this week with visit from Dr. Eckart Altenmüller

CWA InaugurationDr. Eckart Altenmüller is visiting the Huntington campus this week (Oct. 12-15) to give the keynote address for the inauguration of the Center for Wellness in the Arts (CWA).

Since August, the College of Arts and Media and the College of Health Professions have offered performing arts students the chance to work with Certified Athletic Trainers to prevent injury from occurring during performances through the CWA.

Altenmüller, director for the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine in Hannover, Germany, holds a master’s degree in classical flute and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in neurology and neurophysiology. Altenmüller said it is important to have collaborations of this nature because musicians and other performing artists have special health care needs, which frequently are not addressed during the training of health care professionals.

“The professional life of performing artists is becoming more and more demanding,” Altenmüller said. “From our research we’ve learned strong performance anxiety frequently has its roots in early childhood, in over-demanding parents, low self-esteem and other anxieties. Musicians are like athletes working to their limits, and they need to develop excellent self-management skills to function at such a high level for many decades.”

During his keynote address, which took place Monday evening, Altenmüller said he hoped to encourage the performing arts students to develop to their best individual potential.

Donald Van Horn, dean of the College of Arts and Media, said he believes it will be interesting to see the response to such a progressive focus in medicine for an often-underserved clientele.

“We feel fortunate to introduce our collaborative Center for Wellness in the Arts initiative alongside Dr. Altenmüller, a world-renowned performing arts physician,” Van Horn said. “I think his expertise will lend insight into the importance of this specialty, which addresses a variety of conditions and injuries related to or impacting on an artist’s ability to perform.”

Van Horn said because there are so many performing artists in need of this service, he hopes the future CWA program will include a degree program specifically tailored to wellness in the arts.

Dr. Michael Prewitt, dean of the College of Health Professions, said he believes this partnership between health professions and arts and media will be beneficial for all parties.

“We wanted to invite Dr. Altenmüller to Marshall University to create long-term solutions for our campus community in regard to wellness in the arts,” Prewitt said. “We hope to integrate a sustainable program on performing artists and their well-being. We believe Marshall University will eventually be known for this particular collaboration and provide more stimulating opportunities for research with our faculty and students.”

Altenmüller had the chance to discuss his research with students from the Department of Orthopaedics before he travels back home to Germany as he conducted   Grand Rounds from 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. Oct. 15.

In addition to Altenmüller’s keynote address during the CWA inauguration on Monday evening,  opening remarks were made by Van Horn, theatre faculty member Nicole Perrone, music faculty Dr. Henning Vauth, and Prewitt.  For more information on the CWA inauguration, visit online or contact special projects coordinator, Beth Caruthers, at or 6-3296.


Photo: Dr. Eckart Altenmüller (standing at right) gave the keynote address for the inauguration of the Center for Wellness in the Arts at Marshall. Also pictured are (standing, from left) Elliot Smithson, a licensed athletic trainer and graduate assistant in the College of Health Professions; Donald Van Horn, dean of the College of Arts and Media; Dr. Michael Prewitt, dean of the College of Health Professions; and (seated, from left) Nicole Perrone, assistant professor of theatre, and Dr. Henning Vauth, assistant professor of music and one of Altenmüller’s first students.