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Employees video by Kathy Johnson

In relation to enhancing the standard of life for individuals with psychological well being and substance use issues, improvisational comedy is not any joke.

Simply ask Rutgers Faculty of Public Well being scholar Mark Lee, who teaches weak populations to realize confidence, talk higher, be spontaneous and belief others by means of improvisational workouts.

Lee, who will obtain a grasp’s diploma in public well being with a focus in epidemiology subsequent yr, is making use of for an artwork remedy internship and goals to analysis the advantages of artwork remedy to offer extra quantitative knowledge to help utilizing performing and visible arts in well being care settings.

The route that Lee took to weaving theater into his public well being work was as spontaneous as improv itself.

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As an undergraduate neuroscience major at Brown University, he signed up for a theater course to expand his horizons.

“It started as a whim, but I fell in love with the art,” said Lee.

Inspired, he decided to pursue a major in theater, as well.

Then, a childhood fascination with Japanese anime cartoons sparked an interest in voice-over work.

“I trained with a voice-over coach to break into the industry as a possible interesting side job,” he said. “The coach suggested I take classes at the Peoples Improv Theater in New York City to build my skills. My first instructor there placed a big emphasis on how to apply improv in daily life. Suddenly, everything clicked. I realized the potential that improv had in health care.”

This summer, Lee put his theory into action with a series of classes at the Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services partial care psychiatric rehabilitation program in Elizabeth. The initiative was part of the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship, a program administered by School of Public Health that links graduate students preparing for careers in health and social services with community initiatives in underserved populations.

Each class ranged from five to 20 participants.

He began the sessions with an introduction to improv, including showing short clips of the popular show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” before launching into games such as “Zip Zap Zop,” a fast-paced, interactive verbal exercise that builds attention, and “Scenes From a Hat,” which promotes spontaneity and quick-thinking as players are asked to act out scenarios written on paper that they pull out of a hat.

Lee also regularly drew upon the “Yes, And…” principle in improv, which encourages…