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MD Anderson Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas

January 2014
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
MD Anderson Children's Hospital Houston, Texas

American art resources

Firm's role on the project: Create an environment that reduces stress and fosters well being.

EBD Goal

The goal of this project was two-fold; first to obtain user feedback by conducting a survey using art typically selected for pediatric spaces and second, to use the findings in designing the art program for the newly renovated 35,000 sq. ft., children’s floor at MD Anderson (MDA), which consists of 46 new inpatient rooms and classrooms, playroom, and Ronald McDonald suite.


Our vision for the children’s art program was to create an environment in which art reduces stress, fosters well-being and functions as a supportive component in the overall healing process of the patient. After reviewing EBD literature, researchers discovered the evidence base for pediatric art was slim. All too often pediatric spaces are designed for children without asking children what they like, but asking children for their opinion is also challenging.  In this study, all the children included were cancer patients, many severely ill and unable to respond to long surveys.  To address this, the survey needed to be designed in a simple format.  Additionally, all images used in the survey needed to be within the budget and scope of the MD Anderson design, such that the exact imagery selected by children could be used in the facility.


As a champion of research, MDA facilitated a partnership with the current art teacher at the school at MDA Children’s Cancer Hospital. She was able to administer the survey both to inpatients and outpatients during her normally scheduled class times or clinic times, as well as go to children at the bedside and get their feedback. Since she was already familiar with most of the kids, she was able to elicit meaningful feedback and encourage them to fill out the survey.

Although image selection had certain constraints, the images allowed for some valuable feedback. A lower preference was found with child art images and images with no animals. Also incongruent images, such as a dog surfing, gave the children positive feelings and were found to be humorous; however, children did not want them in their rooms. Trends in the data were analyzed and implemented into the design of the new space. 

While The Center believes that the information in this resource is valid, it has not fact-checked the information or tested any findings. The Center disclaims any warranties, expressed or implied, regarding this content.