Concordia University

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Current research


Planned Research

  • Continuation of the ethnodrama research, now funded by the Team Start-Up grant.
  • Beginning to explore a potential “Mental Health Education” theme for an ethnodrama with the new cohort (11) at the Centre for the Arts in Human Development.
  • Creating a short documentary video on the Sanni Yakuma performance ritual, to emphasize how the psychological healing takes place. Dr. Snow is also collaborating with an Sri Lankan psychiatrist and two Sri Lankan Ayurvedic doctors to develop and publish an article on this phenomenon. He is potentially visiting Sri Lanka for the fourth time, in February 2017, to continue the study of the healing phenomenon in this ritual performance.
  • The effects of Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) on motor and the cognitive domains in a cohort of individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD): Research to be conducted by Joanabbey Sack, MA, BC-DMT, RDT, Centre for the Arts in Human Development, Concordia University; Ian Gold, Ph.D, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy and Psychiatry, McGill University; Maura Fisher, Physiotherapist, Montreal CUSM, Royal Victoria Hospital/Montreal Neurological Institute; Tania Lasuk, DMT; associate researcher Louis Bherer, Ph.D. Scientific Director, Perform Centre, Concordia University. This research explores the potential benefits of DMT with an emphasis on improvisation. The present pilot study sets out to examine whether DMT leads to improvements in both the motor and cognitive domains in a cohort of individuals diagnosed with PD.
  • Joanabbey Sack, MA, BC-DMT, RDT will be a contributing researcher to the project: Fear of Falling: Improving Quality of Life and Preventing Falls in Older Adults. Thus research aims to develop an innovative drumming and movement-based program for improving quality of life and preventing falls in older adults.  Each year, 2.5 million senior citizens (≥65 years of age) are treated in emergency rooms around the U.S. for injuries sustained by falls. Direct medical costs total $34 billion annually and may exceed $100 billion by 2050 as the older population doubles. Many who fall are seniors with age-related diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems, like Alzheimer Disease, Stroke, Parkinson Disease, Spine Disease, and Peripheral Neuropathy. The cure for this epidemic lies beyond the reach of pharmacological and surgical treatments and calls for novel approaches to maintaining and improving sensorimotor integration and visuospatial attention through active participation in group activities that are emotionally and socially rewarding.

Continued collaboration with AMI-Quebec Action on Mental Illness

Dr. Snow continued his collaborative research project with AMI-Quebec, using the ethnodrama method to explore “the lived experience of caregivers for loved ones with a mental illness.” He developed the playscript, Through the Eyes of Caregivers, which was performed three times in Fall 2015 and three times in Spring 2016. Each performance was followed by a forum in which the audience discussed the issue with a panel made up a mental health professional, a caregiver and Dr. Snow. In April, 2016, Dr. Snow was notified that he had received a Team Start-Up grant from the OVPRGS for the project: Ethnodrama Mental Health Education Series, sponsored by the Centre for the Arts in Human Development, with Community Partners Pilot Phase of a 3-year Project. This was only one of three such grants given out across the entire university. Team members, include regular members of the CAHD research team, Dr. Miranda D’Amico (Education) and Prof. Eric Mongerson (Theatre), as well as Dr. Norman Segalowitz (Psychology) and Ella Emir (AMI-Quebec). The funding from this grant will allow the ethnodrama to be toured next Fall and Spring, with an added research focus of measuring the educational effectiveness with audiences. This is the Pilot Phase for the “Mental Health Education Series.” In June 2016, Dr. Snow was the recipient of the Award for Innovations in Mental Health from AMI-Quebec. In April 2017, Dr. Snow plans to apply for the Second Phase of the Team Start-Up program with an ethnodrama project that focuses on the mental health issues of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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