Brain science, immunology, and … arts education?

When people ask me what I edit, they are usually surprised by the combination of health science and arts education, seemingly disparate fields. How did that come to be?

In its earlier years, health and education grants from the Dana Foundation mainly helped build buildings: classrooms at colleges and research space at hospitals. In the late 1980s and especially the 1990s, the foundation turned its focus to brain science, recognizing an area where research needs were burgeoning.

Education grants continued, but there was a gradual shift from colleges and universities to public elementary and secondary education. There, a new need emerged as budgets were tightened early in the new millennium: improving performing arts teaching. Today the foundation is investigating whether these separate fields might rejoin as one: the Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium is in the heart of a three-year study of the effect of the arts on learning.

Started in the early 1990s, Dana Press has reflected the goals of the foundation as those goals have become more specific. Brain research grants continue and have been joined this decade by research into the immune system, another area ripe for exploration. Meanwhile, arts education initiatives are expanding into rural areas.

For an editor, the mix is good. I get to use both sides of my brain.

– Dan Gordon

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