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Music Therapy Alumna honored by St. Jude Children's Hospital

Alan Flurry

The Hodgson School of Music shares great news from an important corner of the music world – the clinical practice of using music to aid in healing.

The current issue of Sforzando reports:

Elizabeth Lee Digiovanni, Hugh Hodgson School of Music alumna, received the Friend of Nursing Award from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Friday, November 3, 2023. This award is described by St. Jude as going to someone who demonstrates excellence in clinical practice and the support of the nursing profession. They exceed role expectations while working across disciplines to assist in the achievement of quality outcomes to ensure nursing excellence.

Digiovanni studied Music Therapy at UGA and completed her music therapy internship at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta from August 2019-Feb 2020. Following her graduation with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy in May 2020, she worked in inpatient neurologic rehabilitation for Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. In September 2021, Digiovanni started as a Music Therapist for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Digiovanni spends her day serving patients with Leukemia, Lymphoma and Hematology diagnoses, providing motor, speech, and developmental support, promoting coping, providing procedural support, supporting pain management, and end-of-life/bereavement support. “I’ve had patients as young as a couple days old to young adults who are in their mid-20s that make up my caseload,” said Digiovanni. 

While at UGA, Digiovanni studied French horn as her primary instrument while pursuing her degree in Music Therapy. This work “allowed me to have the knowledge and language to develop diaphragmatic breathing tools and instruction for my patients.” Many of Digiovanni’s patients have had respiratory failure. “Using harmonicas and singing as ways to create some sort of resistance that emulates what’s needed to increase lung function with an incentive spirometer has made breathing and respiratory function so much easier and enjoyable for my patients. Pulmonary music therapy has been an extension of my work because of my horn playing.”

Read the entire story. The robust Music Therapy programs offers great opportunity for music students to leverage the extraordinary power of art in health care across a broad range of careers. While the field may sound new to many, the UGA program is well established and training students for rich careers – as Digiovanni's story attests. Congratulations!


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