Anna Starbrink: dags att socialministern intresserar sig för kulturfrågor

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Anna Starbrink
Anna Starbrink

Den 4 maj hölls konferensen Culture and health across the lifespan på Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset – en internationell expertkonferens om den växande kunskapen om att dans, musik och andra kulturformer har mätbara hälsofrämjande effekter.

Anna Starbrink, ordförande för Hälso- och sjukvårdsnämnden i Stockholms läns landsting invigde konferensen med ett tal där hon hoppades att socialministern skulle börja intressera sig för kulturfrågor – och att kulturministern skulle få upp ögonen för hälsofrågor.


Good morning and a very warm welcome to Stockholm and the County Council! Culture is, besides health care and public transport, one of the council’s main responsibilities. And of course, personally, as a commissioner for both health care and culture, I find the connection between the two especially intriguing.

I am especially glad to welcome our Nordic neighbours to this event. I hope that we can inspire to change and to lead and learn from each other. It is my sincere belief that in order to take advantage of culture for health we need to develop strategies for integrating culture in health care. It should not be seen as something separate, only the domain of the cultural sector. It should be the interest and responsibility of health care leaders, planners and politicans. Of hospital directors, doctors, commissioners – and government ministers.

Culture exists first and foremost for and by itself. But we should definitely make use of the inherent good that culture can bring in other areas!

That inherent good is not least palpable when it comes to health. We know that humans create cultural expressions for their own joy and sorrow, to articulate, process, convey thoughts and feelings.

And we know increasingly more about the positive medical effects – or call it side effects if you will – of those cultural expressions. Not least if you’re able to participate yourself, in the song, dance, art …

That’s why we in Stockholm County Council work so much with culture integrated in our health care. From the happy clowns for the children, to the calming, humanizing context in palliative care.

That is also why we strive to increase, and to spread, the knowledge regarding those positive medical effects.

For example, we support the project The Cultural Brain, regarding the neurological importance of cultural expressions, for example how music and movement in the dance can make us mentally more fit and counteract the aging of the brain.

Our new centre of competence for culture and health is an operation whose creation I am glad to be responsible for. There have to be many who feels the responsibility for spreading these experiences and this knowledge.

I hope you can learn from our experiences, and share your own. And I hope that we together can put culture on the health care agenda. One agenda in particular would be the one of the Nordic cooperation – perhaps something for Iceland in the upcoming presidency of the Nordic council of ministers?

My combination of responsibility for health care and culture isn’t just a happy coincidence due only to personal interest. I wouldn’t mind becoming a role model. Perhaps the minister for health should be somewhat of a minister for culture – and vice versa.

Dansgruppen Johanssons pelargoner och dans uppträdde under konferensen. (Foto: Håkan Lindgren)