Music Therapy Program Partnership Announced


May 11, 2011

Cynthia Briggs, PsyD
Cynthia Briggs, PsyD

Maryville University’s Music Therapy program has entered into an exciting new partnership with Saint Louis University (SLU) and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The partnership will establish a music therapy program at the Saint Louis University Cancer Center where Maryville student interns and symphony musicians, as well as students from the Saint Louis University Fine and Performing Arts, will have the opportunity to work with patients at the Center.

Cynthia Briggs, PsyD, director of Maryville’s music therapy program, has been in conversation with the other consortium members to pioneer this partnership. Mark Varvares, MD, director of the Saint Louis University Cancer Center, has also played an instrumental role in forging the new initiative, along with Marc Thayer, vice president for education and community partnerships with the St. Louis Symphony.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this,” said Briggs. “A couple of years ago the Center came to me and asked if one of our student interns could spend some time at the Center, so they could see how music therapy would fit into the Oncology Center.”

A single Maryville student intern spending a couple hours a week for six months at the Center helped to confirm that this was a direction in which SLU was prepared to move. Representatives from SLU also traveled to Pittsburgh to observe a similar consortium that has developed between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Pittsburgh Symphony and Duquesne University, which offers an undergraduate degree in music therapy.

More dialogue and planning have brought the fledgling consortium to where it stands today – on the verge of hiring a full-time music therapist who will begin to establish a program and support for music therapy at the SLU Cancer Center. The new hire will be responsible for overseeing the intern and volunteer efforts from the consortium members and growing the program.

Recently, the consortium welcomed Bruce Rabin, MD, PhD, professor of pathology and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, to St. Louis for a special presentation. Rabin is also the director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Health Lifestyle Program. His work to pioneer a successful collaboration between academic, professional and performance entities will be a model for Maryville’s new partnership in music therapy.

About Maryville University
Founded in 1872, Maryville University is a four-year, private university located in St. Louis, Missouri, and ranked by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Regional Universities – Midwest category. Maryville University students may choose from 50 academic programs, including degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Approximately 3,700 students are enrolled through the College of Arts and Sciences, the John E. Simon School of Business, the School of Health Professions and the School of Education.


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