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Occupational Health and the Performing Arts

An Introduction

Hinkamp, David MD, MPH; Morton, Jennie MS Psychology, BSc (Hons); Krasnow, Donna H. PhD; Wilmerding, Mary Virginia PhD; Dawson, William J. MD; Stewart, Michael G. MD, MPH; Sims, Herbert Steven MD; Reed, Jan Potter MS, CCC-SLP; Duvall, Katherine MD, MPH, MS; McCann, Michael PhD, CIH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 9 - p 843–858
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001052

Objective: Workplace hazards in the performing arts cause injuries, disabilities, and deaths every year. Occupational health professionals are familiar with most of these hazards and are particularly qualified to contribute to efforts to reduce them. This article reviews current health issues in the performing arts and highlights opportunities for occupational health contributions.

Methods: Recognized experts in performing arts medicine were consulted and articles illustrating performing arts health issues were reviewed. Literature sources included medical databases, unindexed art-health publications, and popular press articles.

Results: Resources discussing hazards and health issues in theater, dance, voice, and instrumental musicians were located and reviewed.

Conclusions: Treatment providers have a history of involvement with segments of the performing arts. The occupational health approach to workplace health issues can effectively complement these efforts. Sources of further information on performing arts health concerns are available.

Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, Illinois (Drs Hinkamp, Duvall); University College, London, UK (Dr Morton); York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Krasnow); University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico (Dr Virginia Wilmerding); Orthopaedic Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (Dr Dawson); Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York (Dr Stewart); Chicago Institute for Voice Care, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Sims, Ms Reed); Retired, CPWR Center for Construction Research and Training, Washington, DC (Dr McCann).

Address correspondence to: David Hinkamp, MD, MPH, 4071 N. Broadway, Suite #1, Chicago, IL 60613-2117 (

William J. Dawson serves as a Consultant, Fox Products (double reed musical instrument makers).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine