Mary-Carla MacDonald

Board Certified Music Therapist
Organization/Affiliation (no abbreviation): 
UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester MA
Worcester, MA 01605
United States
Short biography and a description of your interest(s) in music and health: 
Mary-Carla MacDonald MA, MT-BC, FAMI, NMT is the music therapist in the Palliative Care Division, and the Neurology Department at UMass Memorial Medical Center (a safety-net hospital in a diverse urban setting). She is a Senior Lecturer at Lesley University, a Fellow for the Association for Music and Imagery, and a Neurologic Music Therapist. A founding member of Greater Boston Music Therapy, she has presented nationally and internationally on various aspects of music therapy and has co-authored journal articles and book chapters on music therapy. Along with a multidisciplinary team including Music Therapy, Palliative Care, and Neurology, she is launching a 1 year, three arm, randomized trial utilizing Music Therapy to prevent delirium in hospitalized patients with Parkinson’s Disease, and Lewy Body Dementia. This research is supported by an award from the UMass Chan Medical School.

Interests include improving quality of life for those living with serious illness, music for pain, inclusion and expansion of Trauma-informed care such as music therapy in the medical system, developing better assessments and communication with hospitalized patients who are neuro-divergent, have disorders of communication or developmental disabilities, and/or low health literacy - In other words, using the therapeutic relationship in music to facilitate patient agency and voice.
Collaboration Interests: 
Research on pain, mental health and addictions, delirium prevention and amelioration, music therapy in Neuro ICU, disorders of consciousness,and Palliative Care.