Program - University of Houston
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§ Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit is available for physicians.


  IMPORTANT: Please note that all room locations refer to the Student Center South.  

Day 1: Thursday, September 29, 2022

8-8:45 a.m. [Ballroom] – Breakfast

8:45-9 a.m. [Theater] – Greetings and Introductions

  • Andrew Davis, Dean, McGovern College of the Arts, University of Houston
  • Stephen Spann, Dean, Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine, University of Houston
  • Christopher Bailey, Arts and Health Lead, World Health Organization
  • Patrick Summers, Artistic and Music Director, Houston Grand Opera

9-9:50 a.m. [Theater] – Featured Talk: A Multimedia Survey of an Integrated, Comprehensive Arts and Medicine Program in the Texas Medical Center.

Presenter: Todd Frazier, Center for Performing Arts Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital

One of the largest and most comprehensive centers of its kind, Houston Methodist's Center for Performing Arts Medicine manages collaborative divisions of health care for performing and visual artists, hospital arts integration programs for patients, arts enrichment offerings for employees, creative arts therapy for patients and employees, and arts and medicine clinical research. This multimedia presentation will take the audience inside the hospital, offering examples of health care through the arts as well as program evaluation through patient and employee research, surveys, and data on financial and health care outcomes.

As a finale to the presentation, a live performance of “Hymn for Strength” will offer an example of a collaborative arts-in-health project recently completed in Houston. “Hymn for Strength” was commissioned by the Houston Chamber Choir and written for a combined Healthcare Choir and Houston Chamber Choir. The piece premiered on November 6th, 2021 at South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. With text by Outspoken Bean, Poet Laureate of the City of Houston, and music by J. Todd Frazier, the piece is dedicated to healthcare employees, caregivers, and first responders fighting COVID-19 in the community and around the world.

10-10:40 a.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: How the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics Guides Students’ Collaborative Projects in the Arts

Presenters: Nate Carlin, Megan Jiao, Sarah Syed, and others, McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, McGovern Medical School.

This presentation begins with a history of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, highlighting each of its major programs: the medical humanities scholarly concentration, the clinical humanities certificate program at the dental school, the Quality Enhancement Plan on health policy, and the Sacred Vocation Program. Students in the medical humanities scholarly concentration will present their capstone arts projects, explaining how their methods included community-based collaborations.

10:50-11:35 a.m. Breakout Sessions

    1. Presentation: Combined Art and Music Therapy to Enhance Wellness with Kula Moore and Chris Webb, Menninger Clinic. [Space City Room]

      This presentation describes an eight-week pilot project at the Menninger Clinic, combining art therapy and music therapy interventions to support wellness in patient care. The presenters will discuss how these modalities were combined and structured in a group setting and provide experiential art and music directives that can  be used in various settings.

    2. Panel and Workshop: Art, Health, and the Human Spirit with Ashley Clemmer, Rothko Chapel; Stuart Nelson, Institute for Spirituality and Health; and others. [Ballroom]

      This panel answers the question: How does bearing witness to the creative arts inspire insight and transform our immediate experience of health, healing, and the body, particularly when suffering? Beginning with the Rothko Chapel, participants will hear five voices from the art, medical, scholarly, and faith communities describing powerful experiences of overcoming suffering through encounters with creative arts. An experiential practice will follow these reflections, allowing the audience to creatively engage their own experience of these themes. 

    3. Workshop: Medicine, Race, Democracy: Teaching the Medical Humanities with Digital Tools with Lan Li, Rice University. [Theater]

      This interactive workshop invites participants to share teaching strategies in the medical humanities for the classroom, community, and digital spaces. It begins with a brief review of techniques of scaling medical humanities lectures before and after Zoom and explores a bimodal approach of teaching form (methods of analysis in the humanities) alongside content. Discussion will include medical humanities research as a form of pedagogy through the example of the Medicine, Race, Democracy Lab ( An interdisciplinary project, the MRD Lab draws on multiple methodologies in the humanities, such as literature review, cartography, oral history, and personal narrative, to examine topics related to decolonizing medicine in a biomedical marketplace and exploring activist networks and community health clinics beyond the Texas Medical Center.

11:45 a.m.–12:40 p.m. TBD


12:45-1:30 p.m. [Ballroom] – Lunch

1:30-2:10 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Performance and Conversation: “Viola”

Choreographer Keerati Jinakunwiphat presented by Houston Contemporary Dance and Kinetic Ensemble, followed by a panel discussion.

This performance explores the effects of the four seasons on mental health, particularly during what has been, for many, a full year of relative isolation and loneliness. The performance was choreographed byKeerati Jinakunwiphat in collaboration with Houston Contemporary Dance Company and Kinetic Ensemble, with guidance from Rachel Tova Winer, a clinical psychologist. A conversation with Rachel Winer and the artists will follow the performance.

2:20-3 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: Community-based Writing Programs to Improve Health and Caregiving

Presenters: Rich Levy, Krupa Parikh, and others from Inprint.

Inprint, a literary arts non-profit organization, offers extensive programs for readers and writers. Inprint’s community-based writing programs include writing workshops specifically designed for health care providers, senior citizens, the incarcerated, and more.

This presentation will describe how these workshops are delivered through collaborations with the University of Houston and local health care institutions. The presenters will also discuss evidence to support the positive impacts of these programs, such as how they improve participants’ health and strengthen their capacity for caregiving.

3:10-3:50 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

      1. Panel: New Uses for the Arts in Clinical and Community Settings with Eepi Chaad and Emily Sloan, Art League Houston; Zachary Gresham, MD Anderson Cancer Center. [Theater]

        Art League Houston (ALH) provides community arts in medicine programming that takes place outside of clinical settings. This discussion will explore two programs, Healing Art & Creative Aging, and discuss how to build creative healing programs through community partnerships with the goals of offering a continued access point to the connective and healing power of creativity and to combat isolation that can be brought on through health issues and aging. 

      2. Presentation: BioArt: Contemporary Art at the Crossroads of Biological Systems, Aisen Caro Chacin, University of Texas Medical Branch and University of Houston. [Ballroom]

        Pioneered by Joe Davis in the 1980’s, BioArt surged as a practice that incorporated the biological sciences into the plastic arts as a form of artistic inquiry about bio-systems and the human condition. Bio-artworks aesthetically and conceptually apply materials and methods from bioengineering, health sciences, synthetic biology, and medicine, generating work that deals directly with these bio-field's socio-cultural implications. The convergence of expertise necessary to create these artworks is a platform to generate discussions and new directions for research between health practitioners, bioethicists, and artists to envision alternative bio-futures that are humanistically, socially, and aesthetically conscious and concerned.

      3. Workshop: The Art of Tibetan Meditation, Movement, and Sound to Flourish in a Hybrid World with Alejandro Chaoul, The Jung Center. [Space City Room]

        Tibetan meditation offers numerous techniques involving breath, sound, and movement to support health and wellbeing. In this workshop we will explore some of these practices, which have been the subject of research at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and at the University of Texas Cizik School of Nursing, and how they have been applied for medical students, staff, faculty, and the public. Participants will learn simple meditation practices that they will be able to do at home (resources will be provided) as well as learn ways to use meditation as part of daily activities, like drinking tea, being creative, or being in nature.

4-4:50 p.m. [Theater] Featured Talk: The Science behind Art Engagement for Immigrant and Refugee Health

Presenter: Aisha Siddiqui, Culture of Health – Advancing Together (CHAT)

Culture of Health - Advancing Together (CHAT) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of immigrants and refugees through education, arts, advocacy, and access to care.

CHAT encourages people to experience the performing and visual arts as an aid to self-expression and to improve youth behavior and academic achievement. Their arts programs help children process their emotions and develop self-awareness, social awareness, and positive relationships. Their mural projects improve the built environment and revitalize school communities. Finally, CHAT’s arts programs are a vehicle for social change, inspiring people from different cultures and backgrounds to communicate with each other.

5-5:45 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Performance: “Vimalakirti Sutra Ch. 2: Inconceivable Skill in Liberative Technique”

by Ganavya Doraiswamy

Created in collaboration with Peter Sellars, this work interweaves Ganavya's study of the history of healing and the arts with many performance traditions. The piece combines Ganavya's skills as both a virtuosic artist and academic. This performance builds on the 2021 film “this body is so impermanent…” directed by Peter Sellars, featuring Ganavya (composition, voice), Michael Schumacher (choreography, dance), and Wang Dong Ling (live calligraphy). The film was a memorial of shared suffering, and a message of beauty and hope. In this iteration of the meditation, Sellars and Ganavya are joined by Vijay Iyer on piano.

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Day 2: Friday, September 30, 2022

8-8:35 a.m. [Ballroom] – Breakfast

8:45-9:35 a.m. [Theater] – Featured Talk: Translational Humanities Methods for Improving Public Health

Presenter: Kirsten Ostherr, Rice University.

Global crises have made it obvious that we need more than medicine to survive and thrive amid pandemics, environmental degradation, and social injustice. As we seek new methods for responding to these intersecting challenges, we must also redefine health and expand our understanding of the role of culture and creative work in fostering human well-being. To do so, we must translate the insights of the arts and humanities into collaborative practices that bring mutual benefit to patients, communities, and health care professionals. This talk will share the translational methods developed over 10 years at the Medical Futures Lab through projects that bring together humanities, creative arts and design, and technology to improve health within and beyond medical settings.

9:45-10:40 a.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: Going Off Script: Medical Storytelling for Professionalism and Narrative Medicine

Presenters: Andrew Childress and Mgbechi Erondu, Baylor College of Medicine.

Off Script: Stories from the Heart of Medicine is a twice-annual medical storytelling event involving undergraduates, medical students, residents, other health care professionals, patients, and other community members. The presentation describes the process—workshop, rehearsal, and performance—and showcase the voices of storytellers. The presenters will show that those who participate in Off Script hone their ability to tell compelling stories—an important aspect of narrative medicine. 

10:50-11:35 a.m. – Breakout Sessions

  1. Panel: Healing Impacts of Health Stories: Fostering Individual and Community Narratives with Mary Manning, University of Houston; Amanda Focke, Rice University; Grace Lewis, Environmental Defense Fund and the One Breath Partnership; Portia Hopkins and Sally Yan, Rice University [Theater]

    Through oral histories and creative expression, voices develop and are empowered, setting up a healing dynamic. Community advocates working with health-related issues, such as historians, scientists, and others, can encourage individuals, families, and organizations to share their stories in various formats. This panel includes members of various organizations who integrate arts, health, and advocacy. The discussion will cover the healing aspects of collecting stories related to health, working directly with community groups to develop these resources and preserving and providing access to these stories.

  2. Presentation: “Arts in Health in Practice,” Jennifer Townsend and Shay Kulha, Houston Methodist Hospital and University of Houston [Space City Room]

    This presentation is about the Arts in Health certificate program at UH and how it prepares emerging arts and health professionals with evidence-based, holistic practices to further their work in the field. Along with information about the certificate program, the presentation will cover what it means to be an arts-in-health practitioner and look at the differences in scope of work for artists, art administrators, and creative arts therapists. Special emphasis will be placed on the professional qualifications and ethical responsibilities.

  3. Interactive Workshop and Demonstration: Houston Grand Opera: Exploring Human Connections with Music and Storytelling presented by Alisa Magallon and colleagues. [Ballroom]

    This session highlights the Houston Grand Opera’s music-based programs that address stress, anxiety, and other challenges for various groups in the Houston community. Excerpts from HGO’s online series “Music and Healing,” demonstrations from “Creative Aging” programs, and an interactive session from the “Cultivating Empathy through Storytelling and Music” workshop will give participants tools to connect and empathize with others through self-awareness and reflection, deep listening, and musical memories.

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: Art Museum-based Experiences to Build Skills for Clinical Communication and Medical Professionalism

Presenters: Caroline Goeser and Evan Leslie, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, joined by Anson Koshy, Kaya Rymarz, and Gavin Roland, McGovern Medical School.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has longstanding collaborations with the Houston medical education community. This presentation shares how the MFAH galleries provide a safe space for honing observation and communication skills for medical and dental students, with the critical goals of developing strategies for coping with ambiguity, as well as understanding personal bias and practicing empathy. With participation of faculty and students from UTHealth and staff from the MFAH, the presentation will examine new, experiential learning methods at the nexus of the visual arts, music, and the medical humanities.

12:30-1:15 p.m. [Ballroom] – Lunch

1:15-2 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Performance: Playback Theater as a Possible Therapeutic Aid for Anxiety and PTSD after Disasters

Presenters: Ramiro Salas, Baylor College of Medicine; Sarat Munjuluri, McGovern Medical School; and colleagues.

Houston Playback Theatre, a 25-year-old company, has performed in diverse settings, including MD Anderson, AVANCE Houston, the Houston Alzheimer Association, churches, schools, and more.  Playback Theatre (PT) is an improvisational form of theater in which a small group of actors play moments from short stories told by audience members. PT will provide a performance/demonstration and a panel discussion of our work and impact. 

2:10-3 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: Healthcare at the Margins: A Reading from “The People’s Hospital: Stories and Lessons from a Safety Net Healthcare System.”

Presenter: Ricardo Nuila, Baylor College of Medicine.

“The People’s Hospital: Stories and Lessons from a Safety Net Healthcare System” tells the stories of five patients in need of healthcare in Houston. How can these people—an undocumented and uninsured mother, a restaurant manager with insufficient health insurance, a woman who continues to bleed during her pregnancy—access healthcare in the state with the highest uninsured rate? What do we learn about health care in America as these people navigate a system that doesn’t rely on private health insurance? Ricardo Nuila will read and discuss his book’s opening chapter, “Histories.” 

3:10-3:50 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

  1. Panel: Expressive Self-Care for Caregivers during Pandemic Times with Chris Webb, Kula Moore, Jessica Hernandez, and Kim Fountain, Menninger Clinic. [Theater]

    The critical task of caring for caregivers cannot be overlooked. It is also essential for helpers to practice self-care. This panel discussion will focus on how the arts can support care providers (medical professionals, health care workers, helping professionals) in times of crisis, and address growing mental health concerns in this population. Panelists discuss the use of the arts to promote self-care for themselves as well as the health care providers they treat. 


  2. Panel: Pivoting in the Pandemic: How QR Codes Provide Access to the Arts in New Ways with Alecia Lawyer, ROCO Chamber Orchestra; Carol Herron, Texas Children’s Hospital. [Ballroom]

    With the resurgence of QR codes as a no-touch option at restaurants, ROCO launched its latest initiative, “ROCO on the Go” to share its free online music library with the community. In May 2021, the Texas Children’s Cancer Center was the second location to launch the codes, featuring three mood-based playlists that allow patients, their families, and staff to “choose their musical adventure.” In addition to the location in the Texas Medical Center, the codes also launched at The Woodlands and West campuses and in both English and Spanish at the Vannie E. Cook Cancer and Hematology Center in McAllen, Texas. This panel presents the TCH-ROCO partnership as a case study for ways to integrate arts into health care settings in a post-pandemic world and discuss benefits to the community.

  3. Presentation: Resurrecting a Medical Museum and “Doubly Dead” Anatomical and Pathological Collections with Paula Summerly, UTMB, Curator, Old Red Medical Museum; Jerome Crowder, Fertitta Family College of Medicine. [Space City Room]

    Founded in 1891, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), established a national reputation for excellence in practical medical education. UTMB’s museums of human anatomy, pathology and surgical pathology were at the core of the curriculum during the "Age of Museum Medicine.” The remnants of the museum collections are central to the mission and vision of a new medical museum led by UTMB faculty, staff, students, and the local community. Working with "doubly dead collections” (i.e., those that feature the dead, and are no longer actively used for teaching or research) poses significant physical, intellectual, ethical, and legal challenges. This illustrated presentation will showcase how the collections have been used across UTMB’s schools and beyond and addressed challenges.

4-4:50 p.m. [Theater] Featured Talk: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-science

Presenter: Peter Hotez, Baylor College of Medicine.

Modern 21st-century social and physical determinants are causing the emergence or re-emergence of neglected diseases and pandemic threats. There is an urgency to expand international cooperation to develop next-generation vaccines and to counter rising anti-science aggression.

5-6:15 p.m. [Theater]– Plenary Performance: “Primary Care

A play by Bill Monroe, University of Houston, in collaboration with Thomas R. Cole, UT McGovern Medical School, followed by brief discussion.

Based on a actual case in Galveston, the play depicts ethical, personal, and class conflicts between members of a medical team charged with caring for Mrs. Sybil Dean Riegel, a 92-year-old woman with dementia who has been placed in restraints and fed through a nasogastric tube for over a year.

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Day 3: Saturday, October 1, 2022

8-8:50 a.m. [Ballroom] – Breakfast

9-9:50 a.m. [Theater] – Featured Talk: Sound Mind and Body: Achieving Spiritual Harmony in an Out of Tune World

Presenter: Lisa Harris (Li), independent artist.

Interdisciplinary artist and composer Li Harris presents on the vibrational properties of prayer, devotional music, and optimism in her healing arts practice.

10-10:40 a.m. TBD


10:50-11:35 a.m. – Breakout Sessions

  1. Panel: Arts-oriented Experiences in Medical Education, featuring Maya Fontenot and Jalyce Taylor, Fertitta Family College of Medicine; Nidha Sha and Kaya Rymarz, McGovern Medical School. [Theater]

  2. Workshop: Mindscapes: Mentalizing-Based Art Therapy Workshop with Kula Moore, Menninger Clinic. [Space City Room]

    Mentalizing is the practice of attending to mental states in self and others. It involves active curiosity and mindfulness. In this workshop, participants are invited to engage in an art intervention to explore the mind. Presenter will provide overview of mentalizing in expressive therapies and demonstrate how art making can be used to foster connection and promote clarity of mind.  

  3. Presentation: Visual Art for Health Care Environments with Hank Hancock, independent artist. [Bayou City Room]

    This presentation will provide a brief introduction to the interdisciplinary field of visual art design. Along with medicine and art, the practice of visual art in health care involves matters of business, architecture, and design. Health care design professionals, specifically, have developed a credential in “Evidence-Based Design” (EBD) to support patient healing and create therapeutic environments. This presentation will also outline a few significant principles for visual art in EBD; suggest some shortcomings from a humanistic and art-critical perspective; and show how the seemingly separate worlds of Arts in Health and EBD can become more aligned.

  4. Workshop: Neurobiological Attunement: Dance/Movement Therapy to Increase Connection and Comfort with Danielle Benoit, dance/movement therapist. [Ballroom]

    This workshop showcases some applications of Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) to improve patients’ wellbeing. Participants will be guided in movement, music, and deep listening to their internal environments. The facilitator will demonstrate how DMT can be used to increase patient comfort, provider resilience, self-awareness and social connection.

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: Elevating the Field: Training Music Therapy Clinician-Researchers

Presenters: Jennifer Townsend and Courtney Crappell, University of Houston.

In the U.S., music therapy has averaged only 6,500 music therapists for the last five years. One of the big hurdles in the growth of the profession is the limited number of researchers. This session showcases the University of Houston Moore’s School of Music’s innovative training model that enables students to see firsthand how to integrate clinical practice with rigorous research. The program, developed in collaboration with the Texas Medical Center, will benefit the Houston community as well as the overall field by creating a new generation of music therapists trained in both clinical practice and research methodology.    

12:30-1:15 p.m. [Ballroom] – Lunch

1:15-2 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: The Black Man Project and UnMASKulinity: Community Therapy through the Arts

Presenters: Brian Ellison, Marlon Hall, and Anthony Suber.

The Black Man Project began as an interactive workshop that simultaneously explores the complexity of African American masculinity while serving as a safe space for black men and boys to engage in dialogue and therapeutic practices. “The Black Man Project Uses Art to Unmask Masculinity” is an extension of that work. This session shares our tools and exercises with the greater community. Attendees of all ethnicities and genders will participate in coping strategies that nurture healing, wholeness, leadership, accountability, and community.

2:10-3 p.m. [Theater] – Plenary Session: As the Light Changes: Embracing the Ephemeral in Psychosocial Oncology and Acute Palliative Care

Presenter: Marcia Brennan, Rice University.

Drawing on clinical experiences as a literary artist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Marcia Brennan examines ways aesthetics can serve as a form of care for people facing the end of life. The literary artworks produced in acute palliative care often appear as meditations on multiplicity, particularly as people reflect on key transitional moments of life such as birth, marriage, and death. Ultimately, the artworks provide considerable insight into how to hold multiple, composite perspectives as the world appears in a new light. 

3:10-3:50 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

  1. Performance: “Experiencing Healing through Collective Poetry” Outspoken Bean, Houston Poet Laureate. [Theater]

    Outspoken Bean discusses environmental injustices and the roles they play in our day-to-day lives. Much of Houston’s population has suffered greatly from climate-related disasters, such as Hurricanes Ike and Harvey. Given our city’s particular geography and industries, climate change will remain a menacing presence for many years to come. This interactive workshop challenges participants to grow in empathy for victims and to strive to remedy environmental injustices. Participants will experience collective poetry and leave with tangible lessons.   

  2. Presentation and Demonstration: Simulation Arts in Medical Education with Andrew Roblyer and Kathleen Gullion, Fertitta Family College of Medicine. [Ballroom]

    The Center for Clinical Arts, Skills, and Experiential Learning (CCASEL) is the home of simulation and hands-on clinical skill training for the Fertitta Family College of Medicine, and the only simulation center in the world (according to the registry with the Society for Simulation in Healthcare) to have the term “art” or “arts” in the name of our center. This presentation includes a patient simulation, followed by a panel discussion with actors from multiple artistic organizations in the community who also work as standardized patients. A second-year medical student will participate in both the simulation and the panel. The simulation will show how, through practice and discussion, trainees can learn to understand patients’ diverse perspectives and connect empathically with their experiences.

  3. Presentation and Workshop: Weekly Wellness Virtual Programming to Support Pediatric Oncology Staff during the COVID-19 Pandemic with Zachary Gresham and Karen Moody, MD Anderson Cancer Center. [Space City Room]

    In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, MD Anderson Cancer Center assembled a Wellness Task Force comprised of interdisciplinary staff from different units and departments. “Weekly Wellness Webex” (WWW), launched in March 2020, provides live programming to employees in areas supporting wellness including mindfulness, creative expression through arts-based programming, physical activity, spiritual wellbeing, nutrition, stress management, and community-building activities. The presentation highlights WWW’s collaborations with Houston Ballet, the Houston Symphony, and DACAMERA Chamber Music & Jazz. Data from program evaluations will also be presented.

4-4:50 p.m. [Theater] – Featured Talk: Art as a Catalyst for Physical and Spiritual Transformation

Presenter: Rick Lowe, University of Houston.

The environments we live in have a tremendous affect on how we feel about ourselves and our capacity to be agents of change for the quality of life we deserve. Lowe will us large scale projects such as Project Row Houses in Houston and Victoria Square Project in Athens, Greece, and more intimate projects that connects individuals to their higher self to illustrate how art transforms life. 

5-6:30 p.m. [Blaffer Art Museum] – Cocktail Reception | "Cared For," an exhibit at the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston

As part of Innovations in Arts and Health, the Blaffer Art Museum will present the work of three artists who propose alternative meditations and visualizations of the medical process. Shana Hoehn, Virginia Lee Montgomery, and Sarah Sudhoff have all spent significant time living and working in Texas, and each will share work that reformulates our visual and conceptual models of healing and remedy. At a time when the autonomy and well-being of human bodies have become increasingly politicized and contested in the public forum, this exhibition offers a space for a recalibration of care and how it is practiced.

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