Active Music Engagement (AME) is a music-based play intervention designed to address parent and young child cancer treatment-related distress. Positive results from earlier research based on therapist-led interventions led to the next step of translating Active Music Engagement for parent delivery to increase accessibility and sustainability. Music Play Kits were designed for parents to share with their children and enjoy making music together while the music therapist stepped back into a coaching role. Although the pilot study yielded positive results for the children and parents in many areas in this model, one unexpected finding emerged. Parents actually indicated a need for greater support from the music therapist and a preference for therapist-led interventions. Our AMTA-Pro podcast speakers, Sheri Robb and Amanda Henley, discuss the research and clinical practice implications of these findings, and they share details about the continuation of this study with research funded by a $1.4 million National Institutes of Nursing Research grant. This latest research project, involving 15 Board-Certified Music Therapists, 12 Certified Research Associates, and 4 Site-Primary Investigators/Project Managers across three sites, is studying the effect of play interventions, such as active music engagement and storybook programs, on health outcomes in young children ages 3 to 8 undergoing chemotherapy treatment and their parents.


Unanticipated Findings of MT Pilot Study

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AMTA-Pro podcast March, 2017

with Sheri L. Robb, PhD, MT-BC and Amanda K. Henley, MM, MT-BC

References from Podcast Discussion

*Robb, S.L., Haase, J.E., Perkins, S.M., Haut, P.R., Henley, A.K., Knafl, K.A., Tong, Y. (2016). Pilot Randomized Trial of Active Music Engagement Intervention Parent Delivery for Young Children With Cancer. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsw050 PMID: 27289068

*Robb, SL, Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2013). A Review of Supportive Care Interventions for Young Children with Cancer And Parents. Cancer Nursing.doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000095

About the Speakers

Sheri L. Robb, PhD, MT-BC is an Associate Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Honors Program at the Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN.  She also serves as Program Director for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute KL2 Young Investigators Program. Sheri has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and Children’s Oncology Group, and her program of research focuses on development and testing of music therapy interventions to manage distress, improve positive health outcomes, and prevent secondary psychosocial morbidity in children and adolescents with cancer and their parents. Sheri also serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Music Therapy.

Amanda K. Henley, MM, MT-BC is a Research Associate at the Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN.  She serves as the project manager for a multi-site music therapy research study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Overview of National Institutes of Nursing Research Grant
from January 17, 2017 MusicTherapyEnews
American Music Therapy Association

SHERI ROBB, PHD, MT-BC AND COLLEAGUES RECEIVE $1.4 MILLION GRANT AWARD FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF NURSING RESEARCH.

In July 2016, The National Institutes of Nursing Research awarded music therapist Dr. Sheri Robb and colleagues a $1.4 million grant to study the effect of play interventions, such as active music engagement and storybook programs, on health outcomes in young children ages 3 to 8 undergoing chemotherapy treatment and their parents. Organizing an interdisciplinary team effort out of Indiana University – Purdue University in Indianapolis, Robb is joined by Co-Investigators, Dr. Joan Haase (nursing), Dr. David Delgado (medicine), Dr. Paul Haut (medicine), and Dr. Susan Perkins (biostatistics). Amanda Henley, MM, MT-BC (Core Project Manager), and Katherine Myers-Coffman, MS, MT-BC (Quality Assurance Monitoring).

Aptly named the PINPOINT study, this multi-site randomized, controlled trial aims to “pinpoint” the underlying mechanisms that explain how and for whom a music-based play intervention works. The PINPOINT study builds on Robb’s previous work evaluating active music engagement and storybook interventions aimed at diminishing distress and improving positive health outcomes in pediatric cancer care. Dr. Robb shared that she is excited to be examining not only whether active music engagement is beneficial, but also the opportunity to examine the underlying mechanisms of action – because these directly inform the therapists’ clinical decision making process.  In the future, she hopes to examine whether active music engagement during acute treatment can prevent the incidence of traumatic stress symptoms after treatment ends.

Successful team science requires dedicated collaboration, and the PINPOINT research team involves an amazing team of 15 Board-Certified Music Therapists, 12 Certified Research Associates, and 4 Site-Primary Investigators/Project Managers across three sites.

The PINPOINT study is timely in that it coincides with initiatives established by AMTA’s Music Therapy Research 2025 initiative; these include examining specific interventions for specific diagnoses or conditions and engaging in collaborative team science efforts through secure funding streams. A hearty congratulation is in order for the PINPOINT team for their efforts to continue advancing the field through quality music therapy practice and research.