MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Coping during the COVID-19 pandemic can be difficult for some. There can be plenty of stress and potential mental health issues, but Dr. Santiago Medina, an associate director of radiology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, is using his passion for art to help address overall healing with the formation of the “Show Us Your HeART” initiative.

Dr. Medina isn’t just a doctor, he’s also an accomplished artist, both painter and sculptor.

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“We know that the worst part of the pandemic is ‘the second wave’ that follows the infection, which is usually stress, depression and so forth.  A lot of strong studies show that art can be helpful in several ways. Number one, it keeps people connected which is very important during the pandemic. Number two, it keeps a positive attitude, and third, staying entertained and active,” explained Dr. Medina.

It’s a way to help manage stress through imagery that spreads messages of hope and positivity.

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Patients, families, and staff were encouraged to take part, like Erika Rodriguez, a budding artist and patient.

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“I like to express my feelings through my drawings. I think that one line has more meaning than 1000 words,” said Erika.

The gallery adorns the walls in the hospital and features pictures from simple to ornate. All together the pieces have made an impact.

“It’s not only the creation of the art, but it’s also the appeal of the art to the people who come to the hospital.  So we go full circle on the creation, the importance of creating, giving that to the community and the community benefit from seeing the art,” Dr. Medina shared.

The expressive collection is now a permanent exhibit representing this moment in history.

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“We’re going to keep the art in the hospital in different areas as a testament of what we went through, the pandemic, so that it will be a snapshot of our generation in 2020 with the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. Medina.

Eliott Rodriguez