Joan Fopma-Loy, PhD, RN

Joan Fopma-Loy

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) Project Manager

Office: Upham Hall, 204D

Joan collaborates with the OMA leadership team, Miami students, and external partners to help maintain current OMA program delivery and event planning (art shows, mini-conferences, to provide OMA training (locally, regionally and on-line) and in replication efforts to place OMA throughout nursing homes in Ohio. 


PhD, Nursing, Indiana University
MSN, University of Cincinnati
BSN, College of Mt. St. Joseph

Research Interests

The experience and meaning of creative engagement programs to persons with dementia ; Impact of creative engagement programs on quality of life of individuals with dementia and caregivers; Person-centered care; Culture change.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Joan Fopma-Loy is a clinical specialist in psychiatric-mental health nursing, specializing in depression and dementia in older adults. She was a faculty member for over 30 years, initially at Indiana University East and subsequently as a professor of nursing at Miami from 1995 until 2016. Throughout her career, Dr. Fopma-Loy has been drawn to understanding the experiences of population groups whose voices have been silenced or not acknowledged due to stigma or discomfort of others. Consequently, her clinical practice, research, and teaching has focused on understanding and developing more effective ways of caring for those who have been traumatized, who are grieving, who are chronically mentally ill, and who have dementia. Witnessing the power of expressive and creative therapies to promote expression and well-being in individuals with dementia led her to become trained as a facilitator for the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling program and facilitator and trainer for the Scripps Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program. Dr. Fopma-Loy has collaborated on research examining the impact of OMA. She has also been involved in developing and evaluating a pilot of the OMA41 (OMA for One) program, which applies the OMA art-making process to elders living in home-based settings. 

Selected Publications

Fopma-Loy, J. (2016). Opening Minds through Art For One (OMA41): Direct care workers and volunteers as creative arts facilitators of older adults. Oxford, OH: Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University.

Sauer, P. E., Fopma-Loy, J., Kinney, J. M., & Lokon, E. (2014). “It makes me feel like myself”: Person-centered vs. traditional visual arts activities for people with dementia. Dementia, 15(5), 1-18. doi:10.1177/1471301214543958.

Wright, M. O., Fopma-Loy, J., & Oberle, K. (2012). In their own words: The experience of mothering as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Development and Psychopathology, 24(2), 537-552.

Harrison, P. A., & Fopma-Loy, J. (2010). Reflective journal prompts: A vehicle for stimulating emotional competence in nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 49(11), 644-652.