Accessibility Statement

The Need

Creative Forces improves the health, well-being and quality of life for trauma-exposed military and veteran populations as well as their families and caregivers.

8 million
people in the US suffer from PTSD with 2.8 million new cases sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.
400 k+
More than 400,000 men and women of our armed services have been diagnosed with TBI since 2000 and 11-20 percent of all veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD in a given year.

Expanding Clinical, Community, and Capacity Impact

Creative Forces is building a national network of care and support for trauma-exposed service members, veterans, and their families and caregivers, in medical treatment or transitioning back home to their bases and communities. 

Expanding Clinical Reach

Creative Forces refines, replicates, and scales clinical programs to increase access to creative arts therapy services for targeted military-connected populations at military medical and Veterans Health Administration facilities, including telehealth delivery of care for patients in rural and remote areas. 

Creative Forces creative arts therapists provide an estimated 23,000 clinical encounters, and serve approximately 3,200 new patients every year at clinical sites.

Creative Forces includes 21 NEA-funded and 8 DoD/VA-funded creative arts therapists (CATs) as of January 2021.

Creative Forces invests in research on the impacts and benefits – physical, social, and emotional – of creative arts therapies as innovative treatment methods. 

Key clinical research findings indicate that creative arts therapies can enable recovery from traumatic experiences, reduce symptoms associated with PTSD, foster the ability to experience hope and gratification, and reduce isolation and stigma associated with traumatic brain injuries and associated psychological health issues.

Expanding Community-based Arts Engagement Opportunities 

Since 2017, Creative Forces has invested in community arts engagement activities in order to advance our understanding of their benefits and impacts for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma. Creative Forces funded ten Community Connections projects taking place from 2018-2020 near existing clinical Creative Forces sites. 

The Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant program aims to engage targeted military-connected populations through experiences of art or art-making to promote creative expression, social connectedness, resilience, independence, and a successful transition to civilian life. The grant program expands the work of Creative Forces into more communities nationwide, with projects aimed to address the distinct experiences, challenges, and strengths of military-connected populations through the arts. These grants serve a broad population, including active duty service members, guardsmen, reservists, veterans, as well as their families and caregivers. 

Building Capacity Across Clinical and Community Care

The Creative Forces National Resource Center was launched in July 2020 to provide online capacity-building support for the initiative. 

Online support tool features and services:

1. help manage knowledge distribution

2. support consistent delivery of clinical treatment

3. coordinate research

4. facilitate data collection

5. support training and collaboration efforts for stakeholders across clinical and community efforts to support our military and veteran-connected populations.


Clinical Impacts by the Numbers

103 K+
creative arts therapy encounters have been provided by Creative Forces creative arts therapists to more than 18,000 patients at clinical sites.
Creative Forces-connected clinical research studies published in peer reviewed journals since 2016.
scholarly clinical research presentations between January 2019 and September 2022.

Creative Forces Response to COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, Creative Forces adapted both its clinical and community programming.

Looking Forward

Creative Forces continues to expand its reach.

Community Engagement Grants Program

The Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant program is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). This grant program was launched in 2022 and aims to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers through matching grants for emerging and established community-based arts engagement and/or non-clinical arts engagement projects. 

Investing in Clinical Research  

Over the next five years, Creative Forces intends to provide $2.5 million in new research funding to support feasibility/pilot studies and subsequent randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) or other large-scale studies to address priority research questions identified by Creative Forces in art therapy and music therapy. The primary goal of the RCTs or other large-scale studies is to yield generalizable findings about the benefits of including art therapy or music therapy in common clinical practice. 


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