A partnership between the Texas Center of Performing Arts Health and the National Institutes of Health began in December 2018 to create educational materials featuring NIH resources such as MedlinePlus and PubMed to bring awareness to their roles in information dissemination regarding musician injuries. Two doctoral students, Kensley Behel and Meghan Taylor, were funded alongside Dr. Sajid Surve from the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health. Brian Leaf, the Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine rounded out the team.

The four narrowed the varied field of performing arts health to four crucial sub-categories to better streamline the materials that would have the greatest impact on students, parents, educators, and administrators: musculoskeletal health, hearing health, performance anxiety, and vocal health. Each of the two graduate students took on two categories a piece and co-authored a booklet entitled, Musician Health: A Primer and Resource Guide.

The team headed to the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) on the 13th of February to set-up an interactive booth filled with plushies, petri dishes, anatomical models, and dynamometers. A clarinet mouthpiece and cork had been tested days earlier so that the participants at the convention could see first-hand the importance of proper care and cleaning habits necessary to help prevent possible respiratory function disorders.  Lightning talks were given in musculoskeletal health, hearing health, and performance anxiety throughout the conference to better inform participants about current research and preventative methods that could be employed in his/her own practice as either a performer or educator.  The dynamometer was the most popular attraction at the booth. Boys, girls, men, and women of all ages chose to take a seat to measure his/her grip strength as an overall measure of health. Each day, running tallies were taken to see who was the strongest. Many came back multiple times to try and one-up the person at the top.  Most importantly, the comradery and team-effort that unfolded for a purpose greater than one or two organizations helped provide life-changing and career-enhancing information to the largest state music conference in the country.

Current information on this project can be found here:

In December 2018, TCPAH musician-researchers Kensley Behel and Meghan Taylor were invited to participate in a biannual meeting hosted by the Healthy Conservatoires Network ( in London, UK. This initiative brings together key stakeholders from the conservatoires in the United Kingdom and performing arts health discipline. During these meetings, the stakeholders discuss ways to maintain, develop, and support aspects of health promotion and occupational wellbeing for performing artists. This approach has been adapted from the Healthy Universities project (, which has been noted as an exemplar by the World Health Organization for a settings-based approach to health promotion.

After discovering and researching this project, Behel and Taylor reached out to Dr. Aaron Williamon, Professor of Performance Science at the Royal College of Music and principal investigator for the Healthy Conservatories Network, to learn more about the work going on in the UK. These discussions led to an invitation for Behel and Taylor to attend the December meeting of the Healthy Conservatoires Network. Participants in the meeting were from the UK and other parts of Europe, Behel and Taylor were the only representatives from the United States to attend. This meeting covered a variety of topics, including hearing health, psychology, music performance anxiety, health promotion, and the responsibility of administration in performing arts health-related issues. Attending this meeting enabled Behel and Taylor to cultivate relationships with various researchers, educators, and administrators involved in performing arts health research and discussions in the United Kingdom. Since attending this meeting, Behel and Taylor have gained a new perspective on how to implement performing arts health concepts into tertiary schools of music in the United States. 


An Associate Professor of Family Medicine at UNT Health Science Center recently won election to the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). 

Sajid A. Surve, DO, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, began his term Dec. 8. In addition to his role an UNTHSC, Dr. Surve is Co-Director of the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health, where he plays a key role in improving health care for performance artists. 

“I’m very excited to be able to represent the values of UNTHSC at the NBOME during such an important time for the osteopathic profession,” Dr. Surve said. “These next few years will bring about great changes and uncertainty, so having strong leadership from our national organizations will be critical. I’m honored to serve the osteopathic community.” 

Dr. Surve, a distinguished fellow of the American Osteopathic College of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, earned his DO degree from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed residency training in physician medicine and rehabilitation, osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine.  

He also holds certification in medical acupuncture from the David Geffen School of Medicine-University of California at Los Angeles.  He has been involved with NBOME committees since 2016. 

The board is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit assessment organization committed to protecting the public by providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professions. NBOME’s COMLEX-USA  examination series is a graduation requirement for all colleges of osteopathic medicine.

It’s been almost a year since Dr. Kris Chesky traveled to South Africa as the keynote speaker for two different conferences, but the impact his presentations made are long lasting. The first conference was aimed at examining the state of higher education in general, and the second was specifically a performing arts health symposium. You can see video of his address to the first conference here:

Dr. Chesky also took the opportunity while in South Africa to wow audiences with his superb jazz trumpet playing during two concerts hosted by the conference organizers. Of the events, Chesky reminisced, “It was such an amazing experience to be on stage with these people I’d never met, never played with, and yet we were totally in sync with one another. The music really transcended all potential barriers.”

The Texas Center for Performing Arts Health is excited to introduce two new clinical collaborators to our center. Dr. Lindsay Ramey and Dr. Jennifer Yang are both physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, and are the newest collaborators with TCPAH. Both women have backgrounds as performers: Dr. Ramey as a dancer, and Dr. Yang as a pianist and singer, providing a personalized experience to their students and patients. As our reach grows, we hope to be able to offer student health services similar to those available at UNT for other higher education institutions in the metroplex, and Drs. Ramey and Yang will play a large role in fulfilling that goal. We welcome our new clinical collaborators and look forward to the Performing Arts Health work we will do together.

Dr. Eric M. Nestler, Professor of Instrumental Studies and renowned saxophonist, has just published a new article in The Saxophone Symposium: Journal of the North American Saxophone Alliance. “The Nightmare of Musician’s Dystonia: A New Dawn of Hope for Treatment,” is a scholarly recounting of Dr. Nestler’s very personal journey of living with dystonia, the treatments available, and the stories of others on the same path. As he defines it in the paper, dystonia is a disorder affecting the nervous system, in which the brain sends the wrong signals to muscles, causing them to contract involuntarily.

After a rapid decline in his ability to play his saxophone, Dr. Nestler was diagnosed with dystonia in 2009 and has spent the past eight years seeking treatment in order to return to the performing career he once enjoyed. Luckily, some of that treatment was found in his own backyard with the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health co-director, Dr. Sajid Surve. Dr. Nestler highlights how his work with Dr. Surve at the Performing Arts Medicine Clinic of the University of North Texas Health Science Center helped him regain the necessary muscle control for proper saxophone embouchure. He was even able to return to performing in 2014, and continues to discover new ways to practice in order to help him overcome the difficulties of dystonia. The Texas Center for Performing Arts Health congratulates Dr. Nestler on the new publication and on his continuing recovery.

David Bracken, MD
Senior Resident: University fo California
San Diego, Dept. of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery

8:00AM — Intersection of Medicine and the Performing Arts

A discussion of the history, unique medical conditions encountered by musicians, and possible roles for musical artists can play in the field.
Room 287

9:30 AM — Laryngeal Form and Function: Vocalist to ENT

A discussion of journey from Vocal Performance to Medicine; an ENT perspective in the approach of care and treatment of the voice; and insights of laryngeal anatomy in vocal technique.
Room 289

Dr. Stephen F. Austin, Professor of Voice and collaborator with the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health, has recently released Provenance: Historic Voice Pedagogy Viewed through a Contemporary Lens. This book is an anthology of articles originally written for the Journal of Singing over the course of eleven years. Provenance connects historic vocal pedagogical writings with the wisdom of today, often using facsimile and translation of original sources to remind singers and voice teachers alike of the wealth of knowledge already in existence. Dr. Austin’s background in voice science leads to enlightening commentary, expanding our understanding of the ‘Old Masters’ such as Manuel Garcia, Lamperti, Bassini, Stockhausen and others. Dr. Scott McCoy of Ohio State University praises the new volume, saying, “Each new generation of singing teachers seems to think it must ‘reinvent the wheel’: Austin clearly proves that there is an alternate, more effective path to vocal excellence.” Provenance is published by Inside View Press, and may be purchased at . Stay tuned for information regarding a second volume of work designed as a companion book, in which Dr. Austin uses his clear, distinct approach to teaching voice in a step-by-step historically based vocal method.


By Jan Jarvis – Tightness in her hip flexors made leaps excruciating for Hannah Requa, a professional dancer who spends much of her day on her toes.

She was hardly a stranger to pain. Over her career she has endured a torn Achilles tendon, a pulled hamstring and bursitis. Like most dancers, she pirouettes through the pain.
two feet pointed in a ballerina pirouette, the left is in a slipper the right has several bandaids

“I wake up every morning and wonder if the pain is going to affect my performance, or worse, is it going to affect the length of my career,” she said. “But pain is just part of the world I live in, and each injury becomes part of my journey.”

Click here to read more

On September 30, 2016, the UNT Health Science Center hosted a symposium with various guests and presentation topics. Videos from this symposium are now available for streaming.

Click here to view videos

• Learn about health problems associated with learning and performing music
• Improve your understanding of the need for health education in music education
• Gain practical insights on meeting TEKS requirements during the 2016-2017 school year

For more information go to: