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Mays Clinic, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

September 2010
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
American Art Resources


Firm's role on the project:  Planning, Programming, Architecture, Design, Interiors 


EBD Goal

To change the art program from an art-for-art’s sake to an evidence-based approach that uses research to determine appropriate art for patients and staff and collects evidence on the effectiveness of the art-intervention implemented. Five years after the opening of the new Mays Clinic a post-occupancy evaluation was completed to evaluate the impact of the evidence-based art program on patients and staff and compare the responses to the different guidelines implemented.


Five clinics were identified for the survey: Radiology/Oncology, Diagnostic Imaging, Outpatient MRI, CT Imaging and Breast Imaging; and 210 patients were surveyed.

Patients were under high stress, so some declined to participate; surveys were left unfinished if a patient was called in, or felt too tired to respond. A web based staff survey received an unusually high response rate of 240 completed surveys.


Overall 90% of Patients/ Visitors thought the artwork in the Clinic was good or very good. 84% of Patients/ Visitors thought the artwork in the Clinic made them better. All results were statistically significant and ratings for artwork were consistently high. Waiting room comparisons found that response to images that had crisp and clear renderings of nature were higher than the more muted renderings using pastels. Garden scenes used in the radiology/oncology room received the highest ratings there were no windows in this space which could explain the additional impact of art.

Overall 69% of the staff thought the artwork made them feel better. 97% of the staff thought the art was appropriate for the patients. The staff had positive comments about the role of art (distraction for patients, de stressor for staff, promoting conversations, de–institutionalizing the hospital, soothing and comforting).