Judy Rollins PhD, RN

headshot of judy rollins

Home Institution: Georgetown University School of Medicine

Field: Arts in Health and Pediatric Nursing

Current Positions:

My Driving Question

What elements of artwork in health care settings are most effective in enhancing patients’ well-being?

Scholar Project 

Art with Intent: “Purpose” Built or selected Art in Hospitals

As a Nova Institute Scholar, Dr. Rollins is exploring the impact of contemporary “purpose” built artwork on patients, visitors, and staff in hospitals. Although art is increasingly used in healthcare settings to affect the well-being of patients and to improve the healthcare experience, little is known about what elements of the artwork are most effective in promoting health.

“Purpose built” art is contemporary art designed to promote positive outcomes for health and often is intended to challenge and provoke, in addition to being soothing and comforting. By evaluating the emotional and physiological responses to this artwork in a hospital setting, Dr. Rollins’ research has the potential to transform how art in healthcare settings is designed and used to effectively support optimal health and healing.


Judy Rollins, PhD, RN, brings 30 years of arts and healthcare experience in research, consulting, program development, and education. She is a registered nurse with a BFA in the visual arts, an MS in child development and family studies, a PhD in health and community studies, and holds a Certificate in Evaluation Practice from The Evaluators’ Institute, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Dr. Rollins has developed programming for adults, children, families, and healthcare staff in hospitals, hospice care, and the community. Among the local arts programs she has developed are Allies in the Arts for Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, ART is the heART for children and families in hospice care, and Studio G, an artists–in-residence program in pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

She is adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine with a secondary appointment in the Department Pediatrics at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, and adjunct lecturer, Center for Arts in Medicine University of Florida College of the Arts.

Dr. Rollins is editor for Pediatric Nursing and North America regional editor for the Arts & Health. Her major publications include Meeting Children’s Psychosocial Needs Across the Healthcare Continuum (2005, 2018), Therapeutic Activities for Children and Teens Coping with Health Issues (2011), and ‘Purpose-built’ Art in Hospitals: Art with Intent (2021).

In addition to book of the year awards from the American Journal of Nursing and Pediatric Nursing, Dr. Rollins is the recipient of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care Research Award, Johnson & Johnson/Society for the Arts in Healthcare Partnership to Promote Arts and Healing Award, Society for Arts in Healthcare Distinguished Fellow Award, and Georgetown University Department of Pediatrics’ Mary M. Hoobler Distinguished Service Award.

She currently serves as an Ambassador for the National Organization for Arts in Health.

Education and Training
  • PhD, DeMontfort University
  • MS, Oklahoma State University 
  • BFA, University of Tulsa 
  • RN, Washington Hospital Center School of Nursing
Selected Honors
  • Mary M. Hoobler Distinguished Service Award, Georgetown University Department of Pediatrics, April, 2015 
  • The Editor’s Choice 2012 Award for The state of the arts in healthcare in the United States, Arts in Health: An International Journal of Research, Policy, and Practice, 2009.
  • American Journal of Nursing 2011 Book of the Year Award for Therapeutic Activities for Children and Teens Coping with Health Issues, John Wiley & Sons
  • Distinguished Fellow, Society for the Arts in Healthcare, April 2011
  • Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, induction September 2007
  • Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership Award, November 2006
  • National Science Foundation Scholarship, June 2004
  • Johnson & Johnson/Society for the Arts in Healthcare Award, 2002
  • International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care/Bristol-Myers Squibb Clinical Nursing
  • Practice Research Award, July, 2000, Oslo, Norway
  • Pediatric Nursing 1991 Book of the Year Award for Comprehensive Child and Family Nursing Skills, Mosby Year Book
  • American Journal of Nursing 1991 Book of the Year Award for Comprehensive Child and Family Nursing Skills, Mosby Year Book
Selected Publications