An Arts-Based Educational Exhibit on Menopausal Hot Flashes

Janet S. Carpenter, PhD, RN, FAAN; Mark Kesling, BS, MS; Karen K. Schmidt, MSN, RN


Menopause. 2019;26(9):1062-1067. 

In This Article


The exhibit itself is highly innovative. It represents an entirely different channel for meeting the needs of postmenopausal women. It is significantly different from a popular musical (>11 million attendees worldwide)[48] that provides comedic relief rather than scientific information and has not been studied for its impact. The exhibit's format is also significantly different from decision aids and other interventions that have been shown to improve knowledge,[49–51] ability to make informed and values-based decisions,[51] and quality of life[49] at the individual level. Because the creative arts can enact widespread social action around a topic,[28] our exhibit has potential for both individual and societal impact.

Using the creative arts to convey women's health information and study its impact is highly innovative. In 2003, Gould[31] highlighted the historically complex relationship between art and science and dispelled the myth that they cannot be used in tandem to pursue and disseminate knowledge. Since that time, the creative arts have been used to convey scientific concepts from the basic sciences, robotics, and other fields.[52] The creative arts, however, have rarely been used to convey women's health concepts. For example, in a 2011 scoping review of 71 articles focused on using the creative arts in health research, only 3% focused on women's health issues and none (0%) focused on menopause or hot flashes.[27] In addition, less than 25% of the 71 articles measured impact on outcomes.[27] Our exhibit is innovative in addressing these gaps.

In summary, the exhibit has high potential to be a disruptive innovation to address the preponderance of myths, misinformation, and negative imagery surrounding menopausal hot flashes and possibly decreases the use of unproven therapies. The exhibit conveys a wealth of scientific information and contains balanced and appropriate symbolism. It was thoughtfully and carefully developed and refined with input from scientists, artists, and the general public. Next steps will be to make a business case for full-scale development of the exhibit and showing it locally, nationally, and beyond.