In her quest to improve quality of life of diverse populations, Arlene de Silva founded the Cincinnati Music & Wellness Coalition (CMWC), the nation’s first community-wide recreational music-making wellness coalition. CMWC was founded in 2009 with 30 members and in 2021 consists of 119 members including non-profits, senior care facilities, universities, hospitals, physicians, and musicians from cities in the United States, Switzerland and Sri Lanka. She is writer/photographer of the coffee table book Faces in Aging which includes 60 photographs and stories of older adults from across the world and co-writer/photographer of the book Life in Old Age, a photo/essay coffee table book about the lives of older adults from Switzerland and the United States. Arlene majored in accounting from Aquinas University, Sri Lanka and holds a Licentiate from the Royal Schools of Music, London, England. She is a strong advocate for eldercare and refugee health.
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, researcher, and population health innovator. His work includes the development of community care networks and accountable care organizations, as well as the optimization of medical practice workflows and continuous care protocols. Dr. Bittman is the Chairman and CEO of the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute. He has served as Principal Investigator for several published scientific investigations including two molecular research studies focusing on stress reduction on the genomic level utilizing novel creative music expression strategies.
Cincinnati Music & Wellness Coalition is the nation’s first community-wide recreational music and wellness coalition. With an approach to whole person wellness, in 2008, a unique step was taken towards strengthening our community. The coalition brought together 30 organizations, physicians, and musicians in Southwestern Ohio and N. Kentucky serving: older adults, caregivers, corporate employees, developmentally disabled, at-risk youth, mental health & chemical addictions, students, refugee groups, healthcare professionals, and ethnic communities. CMWC presently includes member organizations both national and international.
Coalition members offer one or both evidence-based recreational music making wellness programs; Clavinova Connection and HealthRHYTHMS. These programs were innovated by neurologist and CEO, Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute, Barry Bittman, MD, and have been scientifically proven to create positive changes in the immune system, assist with mood stabilization, and reduce stress levels.
The Clavinova is a Yamaha digital piano. Clavinova Connection includes a unique series of music/wellness exercises that were created to harmonize mind, body, and spirit. One hour of engaging in this facilitated program has proven to strengthen an individual’s immune system. The innovative program employs state-of-the-art keyboards and a user-friendly educational technique to introduce the art of piano playing to novice musicians. Each Clavinova Connection session consists of several components: singing, physical stretching, meditation, and drum and sound improvisation. Each section is designed to build confidence and self-esteem, while enhancing relaxation and well being. The program promotes socialization, builds camaraderie, reduces depression and loneliness.
HealthRHYTHMS is a one-hour group empowerment-drumming program, which results in positive immune system changes. Benefits include: enhances self-esteem, empathy for others, opportunity to have fun with friends and make new friends, helps express themselves musically as a group, brings a sense of self-worth and respect for others, teaches anger management, conflict resolution and dealing with grief.