Child Life Discover

Fall 2015
In this issue
Quick links
Connect with us!
Like us on Facebook   Find us on Pinterest   Follow us on Twitter

Child Life and Music Therapy Research in the Pediatric Emergency Department

For 2015, the Karelsie Music Therapy position in the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department has evolved to encompass a substantial research component.  A study was designed that examines the impact of a combined music therapy and child life procedural support intervention on children between 4-11 years old who receive an intravenous (IV) line in the pediatric emergency department.  The protocol for this IRB-approved study uses music therapy techniques (music assisted relaxation and music improvisation) and child life preparatory and procedural support techniques (including medical teaching).

Pre and post test questionnaires, which are completed by a parent/caregiver, provide a quantitative measurement of the parent's evaluation of their child's emotional distress level and of their expectation regarding how their child will ultimately respond to the medical procedure.  Since the start of this research project in late July, a preliminary calculation based on 17 subjects already reveals statistically significant outcomes.  This project is expected to continue until the end of January 2016, when we look forward to publishing.  


Child Life Specialist, Jessa Carey, and Music Therapist, Gabriela Ortiz, work with a patient in the Emergency Department during an IV start.

An Emphasis on Education

This Fall, The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department welcomed 5 new interns to our Department in the following areas: Music Therapy, Art Therapy, Child Life and KidZone TV. Each intern will learn and develop professional skills in their field of study and leave Mount Sinai better prepared to work with patients and families experiencing hospitalization. With the addition of these hardworking individuals, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy program will be able to offer approximately 3,000 additional hours of service over the course of this academic year to patients and families in areas such as the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the Adult Palliative Care Unit, the KidZone TV Studio, the Child Life Zone, and the Hematology/Oncology Clinic. These enthusiastic and devoted students will provide therapeutic interventions to patients and families to facilitate coping, normalization, development, and expression. Since the start of this academic year, just one month ago, this group of five extraordinary scholars have already strengthened their clinical skills and we look forward to watching them blossom from students to professionals.

From Left to Right:  Ali Spike, Child Life Intern, Rotations in PICU and Hem/Onc Clinic; Jaclyn Damiano, Art Therapy Intern, Rotation in Inpatient Units; Ariane Medero, Art Therapy Intern, Rotation in Adult Palliative Care; Laura Biagiotti, Music Therapy Intern, Rotation in Inpatient Units; Gianna DeVeitro, KidZone Intern, Rotiation in KidZone TV.




Child Life Services in Pediatric Radiology

Child Life Assistant, Alyssa Freeman, now offers Child Life services to patients and families waiting for their Radiology Appointments. Using popular activities, such as bubbles, arts and crafts, and cause-and-effect toys, Alyssa is able to provide developmentally appropriate play and distraction for patients, in order to help optimize coping levels during a possibly stressful waiting time. Furthermore, she is able to provide information to caregivers about what can be expected during their child’s appointment, as well as engage them in general conversation to help pass the time. Patients and families have responded positively to Alyssa’s presence in the waiting area and our Department looks forward to offering continued services in Radiology.

Alyssa Freeman outside Pediatric Radiology
Consider Pediatric Patients in Your Holiday and New Year Giving

As we approach the upcoming 2015 holiday season, please consider including our pediatric patients at Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai in your gift-giving.

The most direct way to make a toy donation to our department is through the Starlight Children's Foundation Hospital's Wish List program. Also check out our Amazon wish list. For funding opportunities to support staff and innovative programming, please contact Diane Rode at 212-241-8024 or


Last year’s holiday celebrations were a huge success thanks to our very generous donors. We hope to repeat our success this year with your help!

Staff Additions, Accomplishments and Updates


Please join us in welcoming 2 wonderful new additions to our Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team, Alyssa Freeman and Francesca Jannello (Left to Right).

Alyssa Freeman is our new Child Life Assistant in the Zone where she helps to create a comforting play space that offers children relief from the stress of being in a hospital. She recently graduated with a B.A. from Bard College and has a joint degree in Human Rights and Literature. Alyssa is interested in pursuing an advanced degree, and hopes to eventually focus on contributing to global health care initiatives for children and adolescents. She is also involved in the field of Gender Studies, and by extension works with an organization that helps LBGTQ youths

Francesca Jannello is our new evening Child Life Assistant providing services in the Zone, as well as on the inpatient units, providing play and other activities for patients and families. She comes from a background in theatre and Drama Therapy. She's very excited to be a part of the team!



Three of our staff members are celebrating Milestone Anniversaries this year:  Lu Borges, Technology Coordinator, is celebrating 10 years, Sherry Smith, Administrative Coordinator is celebrating 20 years and Diane Rode, Director, is celebrating 30 years! Congratulations to Lu, Sherry and Diane – we thank them for their time, energy, talent, and loyalty.

Lauren Smith, Art Therapist and Child Life Specialist, recently passed her certification exam in Child Life and her board certification for Creative Arts Therapy, dually certifying her in both Art Therapy and Child Life. Way to go Lauren! Later this year, Lauren will be leading a full-day art therapy workshop for children during the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation Symposium on Childhood Uveitis at the Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. The symposium is entitled: “The World As I See It: A Day of Discovery and Imagination.”

Gabriela Ortiz, Music Therapist, will be presenting in Kansas City, MO in a panel discussion for the National AMTA Music Therapy Conference. The discussion titled, “Moving Beyond Distraction: Music Therapy as Procedural Support" will be co-presented with Angel Park, MS, LCAT, MT-BC from Bellevue Hospital. Gabriela also recently received her LCAT. Way to go Gabriela!

Sarah Yazdian, Art Therapist and Child Life Specialist, recently presented at Grand Rounds along with Social Worker Diane Weg Farquhar. Their presentation was entitled: “Social Work, Art Therapy, and Child Life: Supporting Children of Adult Palliative Care Inpatients During End of Life.” Sarah will also be presenting along with Rachel Adams, MD to the Center to Advance Palliative Care on “Integrating Creative Arts Therapy in a Clinical Treatment Plan.”

Diane Rode, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department Director, coordinated and facilitated multiple national trainings in the summer and early Fall,  including Clinical Supervision Intensives at IWK in Halifax and The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  

Brianna Silverberg, Child Life Specialist, recently had her article accepted by the Child Life Council Bulletin. It is entitled “How to Flourish in a Coverage Role: A Child Life Specialist’s Perspective”.


Check us out on Facebook to learn about more recent happenings.

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1153
New York, NY 10029