Child Life Discover

2017 Issue 3
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Paws & Play Launched at Kravis Children’s Hospital

Thanks to the support of PetSmart Charities®, Kravis Children’s Hospital kicked off Paws & Play, an innovative program through which a highly trained facility dog became a full-time employee at Mount Sinai. The first of its kind in New York State, the program has added Professor Bunsen Honeydew, an 18-month-old golden doodle, to the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy staff.   Under the direction of handlers Ali Spike, MS, Certified Child Life Specialist; Toshiko Nonaka, MS, Certified Child Life Specialist; and Morgan Stojanowski, Child Life Program Assistant Director, Professor works with patients in the Blau Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disease; the Alice Gottesman Bayer Pediatric Intensive Care Unit; and inpatient units. 

Working in conjunction with the doctors and nurses who care for the physical and mental well-being of patients, Professor provides emotional support. He helps to ease the pain or anxiety that accompanies medical procedures, long hospitalizations and treatments, while improving the socialization, motivation and overall temperament of pediatric patients. “At Kravis, we are surrounded by excellence, great love and care for families. This is a magnificent opportunity for us to continue humanizing the health care we provide,” explained Diane C. Rode, MPS, Child Life Program Director. Watch a short video on how Professor helps our patients and visit the Paws & Play Instagram feed here. See pictures of our launch event here.

Maisie and Professor


Sinai Stories

Under the direction of Lauren Smith, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, CCLS and Tori Zucker, M.Ed., CCLS, a new program, Sinai Stories, commenced at Mount Sinai Hospital. After a fruitful partnership with StoryCorps, our department will continue to grow and evolve this new endeavor with reminiscence to the StoryCorps program. Over several years, many members of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department have become facilitators trained to help patients, families and staff tell and record their unique stories. 

Sinai Stories is a distinctive offering by Mount Sinai Hospital, as patients, families and staff members are invited to tell their stories to be preserved. Recordings can focus on any story, memory or experience that the participant wishes to tell. Individuals receive a recorded copy of their stories to share as they wish with family and friends. To participate in Sinai Stories, or to refer a patient, family member or colleague, pleasecontact Lauren Smith at or Tori Zucker at

Sharing their stories


Caregiver Connections

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department is excited to share our new opportunity for parents and caregivers in the inpatient setting: Caregiver Connections! Caregiver Connections was created by child life specialists and an art therapist as a way  to support self-care and socialization for caregivers while in the hospital. We recognize the potential for stress as a caregiver in the hospital setting and wanted to create a concrete outlet for parents and caregivers to come together, take a break from the bedside and talk with one another. Through Caregiver Connections, caregivers and staff from both child life and creative arts come together  for a weekly walk in Central Park. The group meets Tuesdays from 4-4:30 p.m. in the lobby of the first floor on 1184 5th Avenue, outside the Zone. For further questions or information, please contact our Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department and watch this video.


Patient Corner

From our latest SURGE magazine:

Special Events Corner

Our summer season was a busy one! The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department was lucky to welcome many special guests to help us celebrate the summer. Earlier this season, Batman stopped by to make a special appearance in the outpatient Hematology/Oncology Clinic, General Pediatrics Clinic and on KidZone TV. Chad Wheeler, offensive tackle for the New York Giants, spent time with our patients in the Zone and on KidZone TV. We also hosted our second annual Poetry Slam, as well as our annual KidZone TV Intensive for participants from across the country. Other guests included Elle Winter, Artworks and Musical Magic, just to name a few. We look forward to our fall season and many more special events to come

Special events in Child Life


Staff Accomplishments and Updates


Jaclyn Damiano
, Art Therapist, recently passed her board certification and received her Art Therapy Certification and License to practice Creative Arts Therapy. Congratulations Jackie!

Madison Elkow, Child Life Specialist, passed the certifying exam and is now a Certified Child Life Specialist. Way to go Madison!

Ali Spike
, Toshiko Nonaka and Morgan Stojanowski, Child Life Specialists, were accepted to present at the upcoming Child Life of Greater New York Conference. Their presentation is entitled “Paws and Play: A 360 Overview of a New Facility Dog Program.” 

Brianna Ayala
and Abby Klock, Child Life Specialists, and Jaclyn Damiano, Art Therapist, were accepted to present at the Child Life of Greater New York Conference. They will be presenting on their program described in the earlier article “Caregiver Connections: Bridging Self-Care into Healthcare.”

Jennifer Reeves, Child Life Specialist, Jaclyn Damiano, Art Therapist, and Lu Borges, Patient Tech/Media Coordinator, were accepted to present at the Child Life of Greater New York Conference. They will be presenting on our 3D scanning and Printing program, "New Dimensions, A Therapeutic approach to 3D Printing"

Mathea Jacobs
, KidZone TV Producer and Nicole Wood, Child Life Specialist and KidZone TV Producer were accepted to present at the Child Life of Greater New York Conference. They will be presenting on the rich collaboration between child life staff and production studio.

Abby Klock, Child Life Specialist, recently presented with the Pediatric Palliative Care team to the Adult Palliative Care tem on “Pediatric Palliative Care.”

Gabriela Ortiz, Music Therapist, will be presenting at the Sounds of Recovery: Music Therapy in Medical Settings conference on September 15th with Wen Chang.  Our presentation is entitled “The Effects of an Integrative Environmental Music Therapy Program on the Perception of Noise in ICU Settings: Patient, Caregiver, and Physician/Nurse Considerations.”  Gabriela will also be serving as a non-executive board member for the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), working with a committee to revise our organization's mission and values.  

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