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The Art and Science of Public Health

Posted on Aug 4, 2014 by in The OFI Blog |


For the past 6 months, Dr. Luciana Koptcke, a researcher at Fiocruz, a Brazilian federal public health agency, served as a visiting scholar at the Smithsonian. Dr. Katherine Ott at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) and Dr. Pino Monaco at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) were her advisors during her appointment. In addition to her public health background, Luciana’s doctorate is in Museum Studies from the Museum d’ Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Luciana’s research examined museums’ contributions to health promotion and health education, specifically, on the overlapping agenda of accessibility and health promotion in museums. Her goal was to better understand how museums engage in developing programs for audiences with diverse abilities and how those programs are perceived by staff and partners in their daily working processes.  The Conversations program at the Kreeger Museum, for persons with Alzheimer disease and their caregivers, and the All Access Club, a program developed in collaboration by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, the Smithsonian Access Program and the Hirshhorn Art Lab, for youth with cognitive disabilities were the cases she choose for her study. After 23 in-depth interviews, 51 document analyses, 6 observations and 3 filled field notebooks, Luciana presented her findings to her colleagues at NMAH. Luciana wishes to thank her advisors and colleagues for the wonderful fellowship experience and for providing her with new perspectives to examine in the future. Now home in Brazil, Luciana plans to publish her findings. She’s also anticipating a similar study taking two Brazilian programs as cases in order to have a multicultural comparison.