Dena Register, KU associate professor of music therapy, recently returned from a Fulbright appointment in Thailand where she helped establish a music therapy degree program at Mahidol University.
Mahidol University College of Music is one of the most prestigious higher education programs in Thailand and is establishing the first-ever music therapy training program in Southeast Asia. Register spent her time abroad teaching music therapy introduction courses, guest lecturing in various regions of the country, launching a "Therapeutic Uses of Music" certificate program and researching the perception of music therapy in the medical setting. Register received a Fulbright lecturing/research award to fulfill this mission.
"In April of 2008, I met with Dr. Sugree Charoensook, a professor and the Director of the College of Music at Mahidol University, regarding the undergraduate and graduate music therapy programs at the University of Kansas," said Register. "After investigating multiple music therapy programs in the U.S., Australia, and Europe, Dr. Charoensook sought consultation from KU's music therapy program because of the history and international reputation of the program and the faculty."
Mahidol University is the largest, and most well-established medical school in Thailand and is committed to a partnership with College of Music for research of music therapy and its effects on the physiological, social and emotional effects of patients across the lifespan. The collaboration of these Mahidol programs and the comprehensive program offered at KU are mutually beneficial.
Register served as a presenter, along with Dr. Alicia Clair, Interim Dean for the KU School of Music, for the first Thailand Music Therapy Forum in the summer of 2008, a three-day conference designed to introduce the profession of music therapy to medical, educational and rehabilitation professionals throughout Thailand. Since that initial visit, Register has established a study abroad program that allows music therapy students from the U.S. to do clinical work in two Bangkok-area hospitals as well as study Thai music, language and culture in respect to the role it plays in establishing music therapy in the country. She has also continuously consulted with the faculty and staff at Mahidol in the development of the curriculum and sequences of courses offered at the Mahidol program, which will begin accepting students this spring.
Register stressed there is a long-term plan to continue this collaboration with Mahidol and expand offerings for both American and Thai students. The initial focus of this partnership is to continue recruiting students at both campuses interested in studying abroad. Register also brought a music therapy student from KU to intern in music therapy at the hospital on the Mahidol University, Salaya campus. Both universities are committed to continuing this exchange in the future.
For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436. www.music.ku.edu