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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island


Women Veterans' Program Welcomes HOPE Bus & Music Therapy

Registered Nurse Melissa Gillooly (Dialysis Unit) with Singer/Songwriter Joanne Lurgio

Registered Nurse Melissa Gillooly (Dialysis Unit) with Singer/Songwriter Joanne Lurgio

By Joseph Yanish
Friday, August 31, 2012

On Tuesday, August 28, the Providence VA Medical Center’s Women Veterans’ Program partnered with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation (GGBCRF) to introduce their “Healing Arts / Music Therapy Program,” featuring Warwick native and acclaimed singer/songwriter Joanne Lurgio.  The event included a special visit by the GGBCRF HOPE Bus. 

Ms. Lurgio, a five-time Motif Magazine Music Award Winner to include 2012 Female Vocalist of the Year (, performed several of her songs for Veterans, family members, and staff to include Veterans undergoing treatment in the Outpatient Dialysis Program. 

Music is considered therapeutic and a part of the art of healing and comfort across many cultures for centuries.  Music is a recognized expressive art that is being studied scientifically in the area of mind-body interactions and relationships.  The power of music has been shown to affect the mind and body in the following ways:

• Lower blood pressure

• Reduce anxiety and depression associated with cancer treatment

• Reduce pain by increasing the production of endorphins

• Increase production of proteins that speed healing and reduce the danger of infection

• Reduce stress and promote relaxation

The Healing Arts / Music Therapy program is an integral part of GGBCRF efforts to enhance the quality of life for breast cancer patients as well as their families and friends.  “We want the Healing Arts/Music Therapy Program and the amazing talent of our local RI musicians to touch the lives of as many patients, survivors, and families as possible,” says Maria Gemma, GGBCRF Executive Director.  “We intend to bring the program throughout Rhode Island with our HOPE Bus, into the homes of our patients, survivors, and families…to everyone touched by breast cancer, including men and teens.”

The Healing Arts/Music Therapy Program offers patients and families a wide range of music therapy experiences as complementary therapies to enhance their well-being during treatment and beyond.  Patients are encouraged to design their own music sessions to ensure enjoyment of the aspect of music they wish to explore.  Music interventions may include singing, composing, playing, or learning a musical instrument; as well as relaxation, guided imagery, improvisation, and musical games.

For more information about the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, please call 401-861-HERO (4376).  For more information about the Providence VA Medical Center’s Women Veterans’ Program, please contact Beth Grady at (401) 273-7100, ext. 6191, or visit


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