Anita Boles, MPA, served as the executive director of the Global Alliance for Arts & Health for seven years until February 2013. The Global Alliance, an international membership organization, represented over 1,700 programs and individuals working to advance the arts in health, healing, and healthcare. During her tenure, Anita initiated strategies to better define the organization’s role in the growing field and expand resources and programs, such as educational forums, online tools, and consulting services. In 2009, she helped the Global Alliance launch a professional journal, Arts & Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice (Taylor &Francis), and expanded educational programs to include partnership forums in Rwanda, Israel, and the United Kingdom, growing the organization’s global profile. Under Anita’s guidance, the Global Alliance also issued a State of the Field Report (2009) and launched a unique training and evaluation pilot program to build the capacity of regional arts and health networks to reach underserved populations. In 2011, she founded the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military—a collaboration of government, military, and civilian organizations working together to raise awareness and garner support for arts in medicine programs in Veteran’s hospitals and military medical centers. Since leaving the Global Alliance, she has consulted on arts in health projects in the United States, Canada, Israel, Italy, and the United Kingdom, was a founding director of the Combat Veterans Shakespeare Company, and helped launch the 1st DC Arts & Health Forum with George Washington University.
Prior to her position at the Global Alliance, Anita served for over 20 years as an executive in health and human service–related nonprofit and government agencies, including those addressing arts in healthcare, health literacy, maternal and child health, and crime victimization and victim assistance. She has authored or co-authored publications on such issues as improving community responsiveness towards crime victims, cultural considerations in assisting victims of sexual assault and physical abuse, health concerns during pregnancy, and numerous topics related to arts in health. Also a visual artist, she is passionate about approaching health and healing creatively by bringing the arts to people at key moments of their lives.