Child Life Discover

2017 Issue 1
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Child Life Expands Services to Dialysis

With generous funding from Carolyn and Marc Rowan last year, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department expanded its services to the pediatric hemodialysis unit. Hemodialysis is a time-consuming treatment that requires patients and families to come to the hospital at least three times a week for three hours at a time. Child Life Specialist, Jennifer Reeves, helps these patients and families cope with this lengthy, yet life-sustaining treatment. With these services, patients  are given the opportunity to participate in developmental and therapeutic activities during each visit, and they are also offered diagnostic education and procedural preparation as needed. These services allow patients to process their diagnoses and treatment in a supportive environment. In addition to providing services to pediatric patients on hemodialysis, Child Life has also been able to provide services to those on peritoneal dialysis on a consult basis. Child Life Specialists have coordinated with the renal team to prepare these patients for procedures, such as peritoneal catheter placement and kidney transplant. 

Art Therapy and Music Therapy services bring an added supportive dimension to patients and families coping during their hemodialysis appointments. Providing weekly therapy sessions, Licensed and Board Certified Art and Music Therapists are able to provide support to patients and families through expressive visual art or music-based interventions, utilizing a variety of materials, instruments and activities. Our appreciation to the MJR Foundation for their support in providing our patients in this area with these important services.

Child Life Specialist Jennifer Reeves, helps these patients and families cope with this lengthy, yet life-sustaining treatment.


Adult Palliative Care Patients Benefit from Creative Art Therapy Services

Creative Arts Therapy is offered to patients and families on the Palliative Care unit and the Palliative Care consult service to support coping and adjustment to hospitalization and illness.  Creative arts therapy is a mental health profession that encourages patients to communicate, explore, and express their thoughts and feelings through art-making and reflect in a safe environment facilitated by a trained art therapist. Using art, patients and families may express feelings and experiences that may be difficult to put into words. 

"The Loom” is a Creative Arts and Literary Journal produced by the Art Therapy program.  The journal contains original creative work by patients and families made at the bedside during art therapy. Caregivers and staff are also invited to contribute. Patients and families find comfort in sharing and reading others creative work. This year, Art Therapist Sarah Yazdian collaborated with a patient’s sister, Halli Rosin, to co-design the issue.  Rosin shares her experience of Art Therapy in the issue, highlighted below.

"The Loom" exhibits the strength, hope and expressions of our Palliative Care community at Mount Sinai and is produced annually, in print and online. To view the latest issue and past issues online, please visit: 

“Using art therapy, I was able to work through a lot of my emotions and release some of what I was feeling.  Creating dream catchers allowed me to bond with [my brother] and I would imagine that they were catching all of his bad dreams….I feel that a piece of him is in each of those dream catchers.” 


Capturing Special Moments

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department has recently partnered with Robert Caplin, an editorial and corporate photographer based in Manhattan, who specializes in documentary, travel, celebrities, portraiture and events. Over the past several months, Robert has captured many special moments for our patients and families. Robert has not only provided opportunities for family photo shoots on our inpatient floors, but also participated in special events, such as our KZTV Fashion Show and inpatient holiday party. While many families have shared how grateful they are to have this opportunity during such difficult times, Robert acknowledges how meaningful these moments with patients and families have been for him. "Having worked with dozens of departments in the Mount Sinai Health System, nothing has given me more joy than volunteering my time with the wonderful Child Life team by providing the welcome distraction of photography to their young patients. While my visits with families tend to be short, there’re often many laughs, smiles, and stories shared. Beyond meeting these amazing children and families, I’m honored to be trusted to document the lives of these very special patients, often creating a photographic keepsake as family’s lasting memory of their loved one". 



Special Events Corner

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department has welcomed more guests this winter season to help up celebrate the holidays and provide unique and fun programming for our patients and families. In December, patients and families had the opportunity to Skype with Santa in the North Pole and he also made an appearance on our KidZone TV Channel. Lucas Films brought characters from the new Star Wars movie to provide Jedi Training for our patients and families and visit with patients in their rooms. Leif Becker and enCourage Kids Foundation helped kids create Barrier Boards and Leif, who is a Martial Artist, broke the boards.  Other special guests included Hess Truck Toys along with Mickey Rivers, former Yankees baseball player, Lamar Jackson, winner of this year’s Heisman Trophy, and Rebecca Wasner, a triathlete, just to name a few.

Special events in Child Life


Staff Accomplishments and Updates

Please join us in welcoming two wonderful new additions to our department. Left to Right: Marianne Porzelt and Kristy Waldron


Marianne Porzelt is one of the Child Life Specialists in the pediatric emergency room where she helps normalize the ED environment while supporting patients and families coping and adjustment through therapeutic play and age-appropriate diagnostic and procedural preparation. She loves being able to help children and families during difficult times. In her free time, Marianne spends time with my family and friends and really enjoys the beach and snowboarding.

Kristy Waldron is the new Music Therapist in the Pediatric Emergency Department. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, stepson, pug and golden retriever, and loves to travel to spend time with her family in northern Michigan and Boston.


Gabriela Ortiz, Music Therapist was accepted to present at the 2017 Research Poster Session at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Music Therapy Conference in Rochester New York. The Presentation will be on the Impact of Child Life and Music Therapy Procedural Support Intervention on Parental Perception of their Child's Distress During IV Placement. 

Diane Rode, Director of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department, led a two day intensive workshop for the Child Life Department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on Reflective Practice and Clinical Supervision in Child Life.

Sarah Yazdian, Child Life Specialist and Art Therapist, was selected to present a poster, along with Rachel Adams, MD and Ian Kwok, Medical Student, at the 2017 Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Care. Their poster is entitled “Voiceless, but still heard: Creative arts therapy for an intubated SICU patient with total pain.”

Gabriela Ortiz and Todd O’Connor, Music Therapists, will present at the "Pain: Cellular to Social Implications for Music Therapy and Medicine” at Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine on April 24th. Their presentation is entitled, "Patient-Centered Pediatric Pain Management in a Family-Centered Culture of Care" 

Ali Spike, Child Life Specialist, was recently promoted to Child Life Specialist II. Congratulations Ali!
Tori Zucker, Child Life Specialist, recently became the Child Life Specialist for P5 and
Jamie Siegel,
Child Life Specialist, recently became the Child Life Specialist for the EMU. Congratulations on your new roles!

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