Child Life Discover

2016 Issue 1
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The Child Life Zone Celebrates 10 Years!

On February 7, 2016, the Zone celebrated 10 years of bringing play, learning, laughing and relaxation to patients and families. The seven day celebration kicked off on Monday February, 1st with cake and birthday celebrations. All week long, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department welcomed special guests to help share in this special occasion including celebrity visits, pet therapy, camp day, special art projects, and music making. Patients and families were invited to join the celebrations in the Zone, KidZone TV, Outpatient Clinics, and at bedsides to make their own campfires, musical instruments, abstract paintings, and more.

In addition to celebrating ten years of therapeutic programming, the exciting week highlighted our partnerships with the many individuals and organizations who help us serve our pediatric patients and families year round, including BLICK art materials, Musicians on Call, Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Project Sunshine, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Garth Brooks even sent a special message to KidZone TV that was shared with our patients hospital-wide. We are always thankful for the wonderful work that our partnerships allow us to carry out. It was a joyous occasion for all those involved.


Patients and Families celebrated with a week of special guests, activities, and fun! Watch the video here.

Child Life Expands Services to the General Pediatric Clinic

In November 2015, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department expanded services to the general pediatric clinic. Child Life Specialist, Jennifer Reeves, provides a range of developmentally appropriate Child Life services, including procedural support and preparation, diagnostic education, and developmental and medical play. These services allow patients and families to better understand and cope with the anticipatory fear that often accompanies a visit to the doctor’s office. Patients and families have expressed that this addition to the general pediatric clinic has made their visit less stressful, and staff agrees. Nurse Fatima Korac stated, “the presence of Child Life has made a huge improvement in the patients’ and families’ overall experience. Jennifer is able to speak with patients and families prior to procedures and provide a more calming environment that not only puts parents at ease, but nursing staff, as well. To me, that’s so helpful.”

Jennifer helps patients unlock their creativity, cope with the environment, and overcome fears.




Kravis Children's Hospital Teams up with Writopia!

Writopia Lab has entered into an exciting partnership with the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai, providing bedside writing for pediatric patients and their families 12 hours a week. Patients and families are invited to work one-on-one with the writing specialists to express themselves through writing as a means of coping with hospitalization. “Writing gives patients a way to cope with their illness and pain, and, for a moment, live deep inside their imaginations. I’ve seen hospital rooms transform into magical forests, serene beaches, and hilarious family dinners. It’s beautiful,” says Molly Haas-Hooven, the Writopia Creative Writing Coordinator at the hospital. As part of this partnership Molly and the Writopia staff also co-produce Surge: The Zone’s Teen Art & Literary Magazine. The magazine is a free publication that seeks to bring together dedicated teen writers from within and beyond the hospital, in order to celebrate their original creative writing and artwork. The latest issue of SURGE can be found here.

Molly works with patients and families to help them get their stories from imagination to writing


The Therapeutic Use of Technology in Child Life

With technology becoming an integrated part of life, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department has completed several projects to expand the therapeutic use of technology in our services. Our new interactive eBook "What it's like: Sickle Cell", a collaborative effort between our Technology Coordinator Lu Borges and our Hematology/Oncology Child Life Specialist Morgan Stojanowski, is a modern and clinically sound teaching resource whose aim is to help children and adolescents become informed of their diagnosis and its effects not only on their health, but also their lifestyle. Utilizing engaging interactive components such as digital avatars, stop motion videos and based in established child life practices, this tool has become a powerful channel of education and communication between our patients, child life specialists and medical staff.

Another project available for patients and families is the "What it's like: Alex talks about Crohn’s Disease" iBook for newly diagnosed pediatric Crohn's patients. Following the vision of a wonderful young adult, our Child Life and Inflammatory Bowel Disease teams have created this iBook so that children new to the diagnosis can now hear directly from someone their own age who has successfully navigated the issues of Crohn's. Video clips and helpful tips range from "first finding out" to "telling your friends", "talking to your doctor" and "staying positive".

Through our Andrew Baeumler Technology Program, we are continuing to expand our technology library with similar projects, services and activities to best serve the needs of our patients and families.

Child Life Specilaist Morgan creating a stop motion teaching video describing blood flow for her "What it's Like: Sickle Cell" eBook.


Special Events Corner

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department has been busy this winter season inviting many special guests to the hospital to visit with patients and families. We have welcomed everyone from Santa Claus to Honor and Magic, the miniature therapy horses. Each guest has brought joy and fun to our Zone, inpatient units, and outpatient clinics. As you can see from the photos below, our patients and families had a great time with everyone including Santa Connection, Magic and Honor the Therapy Horses, Hess Trucks, Microsoft, Stand Up 2 Cancer, Umps Care, Kyle O’Quinn, NASL Soccer players, the San Diego Zoo, Lollipop Theater Network, Band of Merrymakers, Carly Rose and Derrick Henry (Heisman Winner) – just to name a few! The New York Post even came to write a feature story about Honor’s visit! Check it out!

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Staff Additions, Accomplishments and Updates


Please join us in welcoming 3 new additions to our department. Andrea Brown, Julia Kellogg, Molly Haas-Hooven (Left to Right).

Andrea Brown is our new Day of Ambulatory Surgery and Administrative Child Life Assistant. She provides activities to patients and families while they wait for their surgical appointments and helps them feel comfortable in our Zone space, as well as assists with clerical responsibilities. Andrea enjoys singing and spending time with her family

Julia Kellogg is our newest Emergency Department Child Life Specialist. She works with patients and families before, during, and after their procedures in the ED helping the cope with and understand the environment. On her days off, she likes to travel, go to the beach, and explore her neighborhood in Astoria. 

Molly Haas-Hooven is the Writopia Lab Creative Writing Specialist. She provides bedside creative writing services to patients and their families 12 hours a week and is the Editor-in-Chief of SURGE: The Zone's Art and Literary Magazine. Molly is a playwright and loves cooking and spending lots of time in the outdoors! 


Ali Spike
, Child Life Specialist, has re-joined our team working in the Hematology/Oncology Clinic, Inpatient Units, and KidZone TV. Ali was formally a Child Life Assistant with our department and went on to complete her Child Life Internship here as well. We are excited to welcome Ali back to the team as a staff member!

Jennifer Reeves, Child Life Specialist, recently transitioned from her role working in the Emergency Department to working in the General Pediatrics Clinic. We are excited to reintroduce our department’s services to this space and you can read all about the amazing work Jennifer has been doing in our article above!

Diane Rode
Child Life Director, was honored with the Mount Sinai Circle of Life Gala's Champion of Life Award. This award celebrates commitment and support of innovative programs and solutions to emergency care. Honorees are true champions that epitomize this mission by embracing today’s challenges and promoting integrated communication and transitions throughout the health care system.

Jennifer Reeves
, Child Life Specialist, recently had her book review, “A Guide for Supporting Children on the Spectrum: A Review of Hudson, J. (2006). Prescription for success: Supporting children with autism spectrum disorders in the medical environment.” chosen to be published by the Child Life Council.

Brianna Silverberg, Child Life Specialist had her article published in the Child Life Council’s Bulletin. “How to Flourish in a Coverage Role: A Child Life Specialist’s Perspective” can be found in the Winter 2016 issue of the Bulletin.

Morgan Stowjanowski, Child Life Specialist, recently wrote an article entitled “Coloring Outside the Lines: Discovering the Classroom within the Clinic Setting” which discusses the great collaboration between Child Life and the Hospital School Teachers. This article was recently published in the Winter 2016 issue of the Child Life Council’s Bulletin.

Jessa Carey, Child Life Specialist, Gabriela Ortiz, Music Therapist, and Todd O’Connor, Music Therapist, wrapped up their research study in the Emergency Department in January. They were able to recruit a total of 41 patients and look forward to publishing their upcoming article in the Journal of Pediatric Emergency Care. Congrats team!


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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