Arts + Health Forum: Social Prescriptions

Research has shown that engaging in social activities, such as arts & culture, can have real health benefits. “Social prescription” programs are one way that healthcare providers, insurance companies and arts partners are attempting to address barriers to access.

CBCA’s Arts + Health Forum will explore the rise of social prescription programs in America and examine them through a lens of health access, cultural equity and cross-sector partnerships. The Forum will feature a keynote from Chris Appleton, Founder & CEO of Art Pharmacy, based in Atlanta, followed by a responsive panel of local stakeholders. There will also be ample time for networking with Colorado’s healthcare and cultural communities, plus delicious food and beverages served.

  • Keynote: Chris Appleton, Founder & CEO, Art Pharmacy
  • Donavon Bright, Advocacy Strategist, Center for African American Health, and Co-Founder, Shades of Honey
  • Dr. J. Jay Lee, MD, Internal Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Colorado
  • Moderator: Theo Edmonds, Directing Co-founder, CU Denver’s Imaginator Academy, and Research Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Colorado Denver

Forum Agenda

6:00pm: Networking with food and drinks
6:45pm: Opening Remarks
7:00pm: Keynote Presentation
7:20pm: Moderated Panel and Q&A
8:00pm: Continue dialogue and networking

Chris Appleton

Founder & CEO of Art Pharmacy

Chris Appleton is Founder & CEO of Art Pharmacy, a venture-backed start-up helping healthcare payers increase the supply of behavioral health solutions through arts-based social prescribing. In 2023, Art Pharmacy will deliver services in Georgia, Massachusetts, California, and New York.

Chris has spent his career building organizations that integrate the arts and creativity into other industries. Previously, Chris was Co-founder and Executive Director of WonderRoot, where he was focused on social change movement-building through the arts. Chris and his work have been featured in the New York Times, CNN, ABC, CBS, NPR, Fast Company, Harvard Public Health Magazine, and more. Chris has been honored with numerous awards, including the Americans for the Arts National Emerging Leader Award, Emory Center for Creativity and the Arts Community Impact Award, and New Leaders Council Alumni Award. He was a special guest at the 2011 White House Youth Summit, member of the 2019 Class of Leadership Atlanta, and received honors such as Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40, Georgia Trend’s 100 Notable Georgians, Outstanding Atlanta Class of 2014, and World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers.

Currently pursuing his Executive MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Chris is engaged in a range of initiatives beyond his professional work. He helped build Vote with Dignity, a healthy democracy effort improving the voting experience through line-warming and neighborhood engagement. He has served on numerous boards including the Grady Health System’s Ambassador Force, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board, Americans for the Arts EL Council, Alliance Theatre Advisory Board, Health Connect South Advisory Board, and more.

Chris lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Annie, and two young children, Alexander and June.

Donavon Bright

Advocacy Strategist, Center for African American Health, and Co-Founder, Shades of Honey

Dr. J. Jay Lee, MD

Internal Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Dr. Jay Lee is an Internal Medicine Primary Care physician and has been with Kaiser Permanente since 2008 after being in private practice serving the Parker and Aurora areas for 8 years prior. He currently practices at the KP Highlands Ranch office. He specializes in geriatric medicine but treats all adult ages. As an internist, he focuses on treating chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia as well as most general musculoskeletal disorders. His real passion is preventative medicine and counseling his patients on how proper diet and daily exercise can cure or alleviate most ailments, including mood disorders. He lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with his wife and 2 kids. As a family, they enjoy many of the activities that Colorado has to offer such as hiking, skiing, anything outdoors! Individually, he thrives by daily exercise, mountain biking, golf, fly fishing, and trying to stay caught up on sleep!

Theo Edmonds

Directing Co-founder, CU Denver’s Imaginator Academy, and Research Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Colorado Denver

Theo is a skilled, energetic Culture Futurist™ and innovator with 25 years of senior-level strategic national and international leadership experience spanning the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. A seasoned communicator, Theo’s unconventional background traverses and connects scholarly research with pop culture across scientific disciplines, data analytics, creativity, and cultural well-being in the places we work, learn, heal, and explore. As Directing co-founder of CU Denver’s Imaginator Academy - a cultural analytics, strategy, and futurist innovation hub, Theo is a weaver of ideas who scouts global networks of entrepreneurs, companies, scientists, artists, creative innovators, and change-makers of all kinds in order to find hidden opportunities that others miss.
Theo serves on the national board of directors for Americans for the Arts, the advisory board for Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association, co-leads the creativity sciences work group for the global Brain Capital Alliance, is lead culture strategist for Energize Colorado’s Small Business Resiliency Index.

An experienced builder of industry-university collaborations, Theo and collaborators have been recognized across many areas – from “Trailblazer” awards in research for culture analytics innovation inside a National Science Foundation-sponsored lab to many national grants and vision awards in arts and creative economy.

An artist, poet, and entrepreneur, Theo grew up in a nine-generation Appalachian family in southeastern Kentucky. Before moving to Denver, Colorado in 2021, Theo lived many professional lives in France, New York, Hawaii, Louisville, and New Orleans. In 2015, Southern Living Magazine named Theo one of "50 People Changing the Face of the South" for the futurist leadership demonstrated in launching the arts and culture innovation non-profit IDEAS xLab, with husband Josh Miller.

Today, Theo is the cultural well-being and creativity sciences lead for a diverse range of international initiatives operating at the intersection of creative industries, public health, neuroscience, and economics. Having served 2021-2022 academic year as Associate Dean for Transdisciplinary Research & Innovation in CU Denver College of Arts & Media, Theo returned to a hands-on innovation role as a research faculty team member in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Master of Humanities and Master of Social Science programs (MHMSS).

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