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Press Releases

Carlos Rodriguez-Perez of NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Honored For Art in Mental Wellness Program

The Honor Recognizes His Leadership of the Hospital's Artist-In-Residence Program

Apr 20, 2018

Shown with his husband, Carlos Rodriguez-Perez (right) is honored by No Longer Empty.
Brooklyn, NY

Carlos Rodriguez-Perez, MA, LCAT, RDT/BCT, director of wellness and recovery at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, has been honored by the organization No Longer Empty for his steadfast commitment to the community through art intervention. The body of work for which Mr. Rodriguez-Perez was honored—at the No Longer Empty’s annual Future Perfect Ball, held April 10—includes his oversight of the hospital’s Artist-In-Residence Program, which engages artists as studio residents within the hospital. Among the program’s goals, it aims to reduce the stigma associated with youth suffering from mental illness.

The Artist-in-Residence Program takes the innovative approach of exploring mental illness through creative arts and incorporating art interventions to impact health care outcomes. At NYC Health + Hospitals/King County, Mr. Rodriguez-Perez built one of the largest teams of creative arts therapists found anywhere in a single institution as part of redeveloping the group behavioral health programming for inpatient services.

No Longer Empty’s mission is to curate site-responsive exhibitions, education, and public programs in unconventional locations around New York City. The organization creates artistic platforms for collaboration and dialogue around social, cultural, and political issues, and its exhibitions and educational programs amplify existing community networks and cultural resources.

“I am humbled by this award from No Longer Empty,” said Mr. Rodriguez-Perez. “As part of the transformation process that brought me to NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County nine years ago, I understood that it would be important to engage with our community in a different fashion, moving beyond just managing illness. I believe that the arts can play a significant role in reshaping that narrative and moving toward also supporting wellness.”

In addition to the Artist-In-Residence Program, Mr. Rodriguez-Perez and his team have also developed a model for the treatment of people with serious mental illness at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, which has been adopted by others around the nation. For this population, which is often underserved, the team has developed sensory modulation, building on existing best practices, to reduce the use of restrictive interventions. The model enables patients to rely on self-soothing techniques to change their current emotional and behavioral response to stressful situations.

“We congratulate distinguished honoree Carlos Rodriguez-Perez on his award and commitment to combat the stigma surrounding serious mental illness,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County CEO Sheldon P. McLeod. “Through the Artist-In-Residence Program, youth suffering from mental illness can explore their challenges through creative expression. It is imperative that we empower and support our young people by facilitating an environment that nurtures their mental well-being.”