Ricardo López de la Vega

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2002


This profile was prepared when Ricardo López de la Vega was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
In his community-based therapy model, Ricardo brings family, medical staff, patients, and former patients together in joint musical activity. By encouraging all individuals to participate as equals, Ricardo's approach touches patients in a nonthreatening way. The therapy breaks down existing vertical relationships, opens patients up to other therapies to facilitate recovery, and better prepares patients for reintegration into their families and society. The social-leveling effect of making music together is empowering for patients and builds self-esteem and hope for rejoining their communities.
Ricardo's approach is low-cost, easy to implement, and easily transferred across a wide spectrum of institutionalized populations. Currently, he is implementing the model in mental health institutions and plans on expanding to other institutions including centers for drug rehabilitation and centers for the physically disabled and the elderly.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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