We at HEARTS are passionate about creative expression and how it affects the health and well-being of individuals, organizations, and all of society.  We are theater and music artists, health practitioners, educators, and people who love creating in community with others.  We are seeking allies to join us in creating and implementing exciting projects, conducting important research, and generating ways to increase well-being for all people through the arts.


HEARTS was created in 2017 to bring expressive arts to communities by connecting to the field of Health Humanities, also known as Healthcare and the Arts or Medicine and the Arts.  Health Humanities is a growing field with an ever-expanding body of research into how the arts and all the humanities contribute to health and well-being.  Health Humanities is not limited to healthcare institutions and practices but rather extends into all of society.  This field examines how arts, language, literature, and philosophy interact with and influence humanity to promote a “culture of health.”



Pamela Gerke

Pamela brings to HEARTS a lifetime of helping people of all ages awaken to their power, creativity & responsibility through music and theater.  Her work includes engaging children in expressive arts activities, conducting community and church choirs, forming a children’s play production company, authoring books about children’s drama and movement expression, and writing and composing musical theater.  Pamela is a Choral Conductor and Early Childhood & Parent Educator in the Seattle area.

Photo credit: Joanne Murray

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Dr. Connie Amundson, D.C.

Connie's passions for both theater and health (expressed as more than 30 years of Doctor of Chiropractic) now come together at the University of Washington where she is pursuing a graduate degree in the Scandinavian Studies department. Her research focuses on Health Humanities, which is the intersection of health promotion and the creative arts. She is an award-winning writer, has served as an artist-in-residence in the Seattle public schools, and has worked extensively in the area of ritual theater.


Kate Thompson, R.N.

Kate Thompson is a Registered Nurse and Expressive Arts Practitioner.  She celebrates the connection between the arts and healing in her work as a nurse, social artist and story catalyst.  Kate works to enhance culture and leadership at every level of an organization.  Her work includes interactive art offerings, developing an online interactive forum for nurses, helping create an e-book of storytelling resources for nurse leaders, and collaborating on a book of nurses’ stories for Kaiser Permanente, The Voice of Nursing.

Anita Shaffer, 2019

Dr. Anita Shaffer, M.D.

Recently retired from a 40-year career in primary care internal medicine at the Polyclinic in Seattle, Anita is thrilled to use some of her newfound time to support causes which enliven her passion.  Her love of music was first awakened at age six by singing in the choir of her small, rural Minnesota church and has continued throughout her life.  HEARTS embodies Anita's belief in the healing power of music, arts and culture for our individual and communal bodies and souls.