About the Program

Art inspires us. It tells our stories, brings us together and heals us.

The Peoples’ heART (Health Equity x Art) is a project dedicated to exploring health equity and addressing health disparities through art. We seek to reimagine healthcare spaces using art and design. Our mission is to create spaces that better reflect and serve the rich diversity of our patients, staff and community.

The work we do combines art, design, and community health. Research has shown that art in hospitals and clinical settings can have meaningful benefits for patients. But we know that even more than this, art can make a place accepting and even inviting. To this end, the project seeks to promote health equity across healthcare settings. We believe that by better connecting with patients, we can help them feel welcome and accepted in our spaces.

The Peoples’ heART is based at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a hospital-community partnership, we strive to work beyond the walls of the hospital. We partner with community organizations and individuals to bring art installations to our hospital and clinic settings and the communities we serve.

Our inaugural show, Heart + Soul, was presented in partnership with Beyond Walls, a non-profit based in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Meet the Team

Meg Carleton, LMHC, ATR-BC
Consulting Art Therapist

Megan Carleton is a board certified art therapist and licensed mental health counselor who believes in the power of art to tell stories, create connections, and influence change. From her own arts experience painting murals on the walls of medical and residential treatment facilities, to facilitating community-wide mural painting in response to hateful graffiti, Megan has made creativity the guiding force in her personal and professional life.

Megan incorporates a trauma-informed expressive arts approach in her work to promote connection and activate change within communities and individuals. For ten years she managed the rotating art exhibit at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, a program designed to improve patient experience and provide inspiration to the Cancer Center community through innovative and original environmental art and art experiences. She also has a private practice of art therapy, mental health counseling and consultation, where she uses evidenced-based approaches to treatment, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), to help people identify and process internal feelings about adverse life experiences and move towards a sense of growth and integration. By using these mind-body approaches, a path to healing emerges in a way that is not available through words or thoughts alone.

Past co-president of the New England Art Therapy Association, she is currently an Associate Director of Field Training for Lesley University’s Graduate School of Art and Social Sciences Expressive Therapies Program. She has professional experience working with individuals and groups ranging from infants through elders in her previously held positions of community based and residential treatment clinician, as well as art therapist in MGH’s Cancer Center and at the Intensive Clinical Program at Home Base: Veteran and Family Care, a program of MGH and the Red Sox Foundation.

In her consulting role with The Peoples’ heART, Megan contributes to our team in our mission of harnessing the power of art, technology and community to challenge established systems, promote representation, address inequity, and spark systemic change in our medical institutions and beyond.

Cindy Diggs
Director of Cultural Engagement

Cindy Diggs aka Mother Hip Hop aka The Patron Saint of Roxbury is a life long community advocate and peace-driven visionary. Born and raised in Roxbury, MA, Cindy started out as a club promoter in the Golden age of hip hop. Music and community activism collided when Cindy founded the antiviolence organization Us Making Moves Forever in 1995 and later Peace Boston in 2005. She pioneered innovative music conferences dubbed “Can We Talk 2U?” which afforded first-hand advice via panels that featured iconic hip hop veterans such as the late Jam Master Jay of the legendary group Run DMC and Wendy Day, Founder of the Rap Coalition. By 2000, Cindy’s focus was directed to creating the Hip Hop 4 Health campaign which encouraged inner-city youth to utilize Boston’s school health centers. That groundbreaking project won the American Public Health Association Award, a high honor in the Health Industry.

First and foremost, the People’s heART is about creating a new healthcare culture paradigm, one centered in community wellness and empowers patients and staff regardless of race, religion, country of origin, level of education, or title. As Director of Community, Cindy helps forge lasting relationships and ensure that we stay true to our vision and mission.

Brooke DiGiovanni Evans
Visual Arts & Curation Advisor

Brooke DiGiovanni Evans is the Director of Visual Arts Education at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and affiliated with Harvard Medical School. In this role she implements and oversees arts based programming for clinicians and staff at BWH and affiliated institutions and will embark on research to document and understand the value of such work for the wider medical community. Ms. DiGiovanni Evans has worked with clinicians locally and nationally for over ten years developing and leading arts-based programs in museums and online that focus on building skills to improve patient care. She holds an Ed.M. degree from Harvard University and has a background in art history and non-profit management with over 20 years’ experience working in museum collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard Art Museums, and the Peabody Essex Museum. Ms. DiGiovanni Evans guest edited and authored an issue of the Journal of Museum Education titled “Health and Wellness in Our Community: The Impact of Museums” and is a published children’s book author. In addition to her work in museums she is an adjunct faculty member at Northeastern University and Boston University.

Daniel Chonde, MD, PhD
Executive Director

Dan is the diversity, equity, and inclusion chair of the American Roentgen Ray Society, the first and oldest radiology society in the United States. He has organized and launched a number of innovative diversity initiatives including developing the novel diversityxMESH collaboration with the Medically Engineered Solutions in Health (MESH) Innovation Center, the Mass General innovation group, and subsequently organizing the Mass General Radiology Health Disparities Hackathon as well as RadTranslate, an app to help healthcare workers interact with patients with limited English proficiency.

He also founded a collaboration with the Radiology Departments of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Emory Hospital to create a radiology bootcamp for medical students in collaboration with the National Medical Association, Student National Medical Association, and the Latino Medical Student Association. He has organized events to celebrate the diverse heritage of members of the Radiology Department including a yearly Diversity week and a 2020 Juneteenth celebration, which was a collaboration with the local Boston arts collective, The Front Porch Arts Collective.

Hyewon Hyun, MD
Education Director

Hyewon Hyun is the founding Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. Trained as both a radiologist and a nuclear medicine physician, she is the Program Director for Joint Program in Nuclear Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She has developed and launched novel educational curricula in collaboration with art educators at the Harvard Art Museums for radiology and nuclear medicine residents as well as for under-represented high school, college and first-year medical school students who seek to pursue STEM careers.

Esteban Gershanik, MD, MPH, MSc
Research Director

Esteban is an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Hospitalist currently serving as Medical Director of Quality, Safety, and Equity for Brigham Health where he leads several initiatives evaluating disparities in healthcare access, delivery, and the digital divide. Outside of Brigham, he consults and advises on value-based care (medical director at Prometheus Analytica/Change Healthcare), start-ups, clinical informatics, public health and health disparities which includes his role as a HIMSS Global Health Equity Network Advisory Task Force Ambassador. Prior positions include as Chief Information Officer, Health Informatics Director, and Quality Lead for the Louisiana Department of Health where he led efforts around Medicaid expansion, the opioid epidemic, and regional disaster management and as the eCare Process Care and Redesign Clinician for Partners Healthcare. His passion for health equity and art stems from his deep connection to his mother and hometown of New Orleans who both nurtured his appreciation in the arts and social justice.

Alexander Burns
Operations Manager

Alexander is a recent graduate of Bentley University. After studying for over 6 months in Spain and working in technology during his college education, he developed a huge passion for the arts and their intersection with everyday life coupled with virtual application. Specifically, he is interested in creating equity for diverse groups in the medical space in order to connect with his heritage and understand more about the medical field. Currently, Alexander is working with Brigham and Women’s Hospital on designing a study around using Virtual Reality to treat patients with delirium.

Diya Ghosh
Consulting Preparator and Installer

Diya Ghosh is an artist and community organizer living in the Boston area. Her most recent work has focused on creating and supporting art-based community programming for critical populations, including Boston Chinatown through the PAO Arts Center, and Matting Change and Beachside Chats through her studio, Tuk Tak Studio in Needham, MA. Her own artistic creations have been in the themes of post-colonialism, feminism and structural racism.

Diya has spent her career honing her skills to understand the needs of a group and offer solutions in art making to move toward achieving future goals. Trained in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy, she has served in clinical settings, with children and adults with severe, chronic mental illness, adults with mild traumatic brain injuries, and the elderly with Dementia. Outside of the clinical and community based programs, she has focused on broadening the therapeutic landscape by conducting mindful art making workshops for adults and children to encourage conscious living.

In her work with The Peoples’ HeArt , Diya’s intention is to bridge the gaps between healthcare practitioners, providers and creators to effectively serve the community.

Alison Rosalie Brookes, MD
Senior Advisor

Alison is an internal medicine physician whose many passionate interests in the creative arts are inseparable from the delight she takes in her patients’ stories. She was raised in London, England (where she trained as a physician before emigrating to the USA in her 20’s), in a musical family with a special love of Jamaica, where the family lived in 1971, and which had a magical effect on all of them. She is always searching for ways to bring to her medical practice the beauty, spontaneity and enthusiasm for life that she has found in her adventures in the world outside it. She has worked in rural West Africa doing pediatrics and obstetrics, in an English country village as a family physician doing house calls, as a primary care physician in an affluent American suburb, and now works in the Medical Walk-In Unit at MGH, Boston: serving people from all over the world…and from just down the street. She had been studying Spanish at a tiny school in the mountains of Peru each year until the pandemic curtailed travel. For about 20 years she volunteered as a cook, entertainer, fundraiser and Board member at a homeless shelter in Lynn, MA. During those years, the friendships she made led to co-creation of the OFF THE GRID photography project. The resulting art collection gives a voice to people living the most difficult lives imaginable, their images and quotations revealing the unquenchable spirit that resides in every soul.

Alison firmly believes that the best way to inspire and to educate our patients and each other, nourishing us in our year-long hunger for community togetherness, and to promote justice and equity in healthcare, is through creative messaging, employing all of our senses and imagination. For this reason, she is delighted to join the People’s HeART team, in which art and community empowerment are one and the same.

Alice Wang
Student Curator

Alice is a second year medical student at Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program. She is passionate about the intersection between art and medicine, especially how the arts can address health equity, train empathic physicians, and enhance patient healing. Her interests range from portrait drawing to tissue engineering and face transplantation research. Her artwork has been exhibited in student exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art. She is currently investigating software-based technologies for rejection diagnosis in face transplant patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which seeks to improve patient outcomes through interdisciplinary innovation.

Sid Chand
Student Curator

Sid is a student at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include topics in dermatology and hospital medicine pertaining to patient outcomes, health disparities, and medical devices. In collaboration with MGH Dermatology Department, he led the graphic design for a novel graduate medical education series on the unique challenges affecting skin of color for the American Academy of Dermatology.

Anagha Prasanna
Student Curator

Anagha is a student at Harvard Medical School. She is interested in how artwork can empower patients and augment therapeutic relationships, particularly when expanding the definition of who can create medical art. A dancer by training passionate about medicine and anthropology, her past work has focused on innovation in dance choreography to advocate for vulnerable populations. Outside of her work with The People’s heART, she conducts research in clinical trial design and cardiac surgery.

Susan Ogan, MS, MSW
Artistic Advisor

Professionally trained in Boston Massachusetts, Susan is now a photographer with a background in communication disorders and social work with a specialty in systems based outreach child/family evaluation and treatment of trauma and loss. Working in collaboration with medical and educational teams in a range of settings has contributed to her current passion and “lens” focused on verbal and visual story telling. Beauty, hope, suffering, personal truth. Susan believes that giving voice to aspects of our shared humanity is important for building bridges of change. As co-creator of OFF THE GRID photography project these ideals motivated Susan to spend 6 months on a project teaching people experiencing homelessness to tell their stories using photography.

Sami Wakim
Artistic Advisor

Sami is the founder and editor of Street Art United States, a platform dedicated to street art culture, where he engages more than 200,000 followers world wide on social media. He has interviewed hundreds of artists and documented their work, making it possible for these artists to share their imagery and ideas with a wider community. Sami’s mission is to support street artists in instilling a sense of hope and history through creative expression. Street Art United States often focuses on projects that have a strong message related to relevant issues such as injustice, poverty and racism… Sami has also organized a couple of street art murals in the Boston area and has hosted local and international artists who have contributed to the flourishing street art community in the city.

What We Do

Get Involved

The Peoples’ heART is dedicated to the communities we serve. There are many ways to get involved.

Leave a Comment and Share

We want to hear from you! Leave a comment on your favorite pieces of art on the site and tell us how you connect with this art. Let our artists know what you love about their art! If there’s a piece you love, please share on social media and help us spread the word about The Peoples’ heART.

You can also follow the Peoples’ heART on Twitter @Peoples_heART.

Make a Donation

You can support our work and future art installations by making a donation to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Your support will help create opportunities to partner with a diverse group of local artists and display their work at Mass General. As the program grows, we hope to welcome new artists and rotate curated collections to other Mass General spaces. Over time, we hope to share this work with more patients.

Donate to The Peoples’ heART

Learn More About Health Equity

Equality and equity are commonly considered interchangeably; however, they are very different.

  • Equality, or the state of being equal, is defined as: of the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another.
  • Equity, or something that is equitable, is defined as: dealing fairly and equally with all concerned.

In an ideal world, equity and equality are the same; however, in the real world there is a history of oppression and discrimination which has been ingrained into society, as such limiting the opportunities of some groups. As such, something that is equitable is not necessarily equal. We have a number of instances in our lives where the difference between equity and equality is highlighted. For instance, it is common for colleges and university to provide need-based financial aid, there by giving those who cannot afford to attend an institution the opportunity to attend. That is equity in higher education. Similarly, our tax structure is based on equity as those who earn less money pay a smaller proportion and absolute amount to the government.

Health equity is a concept related to access and opportunities in health care. Health equity means that everyone in a community has equal access to care and the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Health equity means understanding that some different groups of people have different needs and putting the work in to meet those needs.

Reaching health equity means removing obstacles to health care. These obstacles include issues such as poverty, discrimination, housing insecurity and safe environments.

In many communities today, there is unequal access to care that results in health disparities. Mass General is committed to eliminating these health disparities in the communities we serve. Through our work, both on our main campus and in our community health centers, we work to bring health equity to all.

Our Collaborators

The work of the Peoples’ heART would not be possible without the contributions of our community collaborators.

Mad*Pow logo
Beyond Walls logo
La Colaborativa logo
MGH logo
Arts at MIT logo
The Front Porch logo