The Performing Arts Medicine Association was incorporated in 1988 by a group of physicians who had been involved individually with the medical care of musicians and dancers. The seeds for this organization were sown in 1983 at the first Symposium on the Medical Problems of Musicians in Aspen, Colorado. Further impetus toward formalizing their shared interest in this nascent medical specialty came with the founding of a scientific journal, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, in 1986. Both the symposium and journal began under the leadership of Dr. Alice Brandfonbrener of Chicago, who was the journal's first editor-in-chief and who would become PAMA's Founding President.

Initially a medical organization limited to physicians, PAMA quickly grew to include all types of health professionals, as well as performers, educators, and administrators in both music and dance genres. The specialty is international in scope, with 20% of its members from outside the United States. With this expansion has come an increasing diversity of activities that support PAMA's mission-dealing with the health of musicians, dancers, and actors. Collaboration with artistic organizations of many varieties has enabled us to spread our message to wider populations of performers and students who can benefit from this information. Several PAMA members serve as medical consultants to musical and dance organizations, while others work directly with orchestras and dance companies.

PAMA traditionally has held its annual meetings in conjunction with the Symposium in Colorado each summer. Through its committee structure, the organization's business-education, research, outreach, and much more-continues throughout the year. The MPPA publication has become the official journal of our organization, as well as that of our sister performing arts medicine group in the Netherlands. PAMA will continue to expand as increasing numbers of performers avail themselves of our knowledge and experience in care and prevention of their medical problems, and more health professionals become actively involved in this endeavour.

(Our gracious thank you to William Dawson, MD for the condensed PAMA history)

Symposium Themes:

1983 - 1987: Medical Problems of Musicians

1988 - 2007: Medical Problems of Musicians & Dancers

2008: Medical Problems of Performing Artists

2009: Controversies, (Motor) Control and Circus

2010: Prevalence & Standardized Measurement of Injuries in Performing Artists

2011: Hidden Costs of Performance Stress: Recognition and Prevention

2012: Performing Arts Medicine: Past, Present and Future

2013: Maximizing Performance: Artistry, Implementation and Empowerment

2014: Competitions and Creative Collaborations: Identifying and Promoting Healthy Artistry from Studio to Stage

2015: Countdown to Curtain: Maximizing Artistry and Injury Prevention Onstage and Behind the Scenes

2016: Make It! Not Break It! Creating the Resilient Performing Artist and Athlete

2017: No Gain with Pain: Preventing and Overcoming Physical and Emotional Pain in Performing Artists

2018: Glamor and Grit: Building an Entourage for Health

2019: Hollywood & Health: Bringing the Best from East to West for 'Performing Artist-Centric' Care

2020: 2020 Vision for Prevention - Pathways to Prime Performance

2021: Medical Problems of Performing Artists

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