Child Life Discover

2018 Issue 1
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What's Better Than One Dog? Two Dogs!

In November, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department welcomed our newest, furry employee:  Amos! With generous support from the Mount Sinai Auxiliary Board, Amos kicked off his work as the second facility dog at Kravis Children’s Hospital.  He quickly grew into his role and became a favorite employee of patients, families and staff alike. Amos works with two handlers, Tori Zucker, Certified Child Life Specialist, and Mathea Jacobs, KidZone TV Manager. He can be found on the inpatient units and in the KidZone TV Studio, as well as at our weekly parent coffee hour in the Family Corner. Additionally, Amos is a part of weekly Backstage Pass sessions in the KidZone TV studio where patients and families can get a behind-the-scenes look at show production and play activities in the studio. He also hosts a weekly show where patients can call in from their hospital rooms and play along with Amos! Since the start of Amos’ time at Mount Sinai, he has had almost 200 sessions with patients, families and staff. Similar to Professor, Amos sees patients for pain management, anxiety, motivation, socialization and play opportunities in the hospital. Together with Professor, the two have been able to cover 1,300 session bringing joy, smiles and belly rubs everywhere they go!

Professor (left) and Amos (right) showing off their good looks!


Child Life Expands Services to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


In October 2017, The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department expanded services to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  Mount Sinai’s NICU is a 60-bed unit that treats babies who have had medical or surgical issues due to prematurity, congenital disorders, genetic issues or other problems discovered at or shortly after their birth.   An admission to the NICU can be a scary and challenging time for families, and the goal of Child Life services in the NICU is to help address some of the anxiety and uncertainty that comes along with having a baby in the hospital. Lindsay Davis, a Certified Child Life Specialist, is piloting a program to address the emotional and developmental needs of NICU families and their new babies.  This program focuses on caregiver wellness, sibling support and preparation for first time sibling visits, parent-child bonding and milestone documenting, as well as developmental support for babies who have extended stays.  She is able to take photos of these patients as they celebrate milestones reached for the family to take home and share with other loved ones. Lindsay also works closely with siblings to prepare them to see their little brother or sister in the NICU and some of the items they might see. One parent of a NICU baby expressed appreciation about Lindsay and Child Life Services.  “Thank you so much for all you did to mark their milestones. It made it feel like the boys were making forward progress, but it was also wonderful to have beautiful photos to share with friends and family.  Really, thank you for normalizing the whole NICU experience and helping me to feel like I was still doing (or thinking about doing) the same kinds of developmental exercises I did with our first,”  she explained. In just a few short months in the NICU, Lindsay has already been able to make an immense difference in the lives of the patients and families and looks forward to doing more great work in the future.

NICU patients celebrating milestones.


Aid to Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a category five storm on September 20, 2017. The devastation from this hurricane left the island without power and without the ability to meet the basic needs of the citizens. The road to recovery will be long, and the psychological effects of this catastrophe will be felt for many years. Hospitalized patients, in particular children, will need ways to cope with the psycho-social issues in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Through therapeutic art therapy, hospitalized children are able to work through the stress and anxiety of this hurricane. In recognition of this, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department of Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai Hospital, contacted the child life coordinator of San Jorge Children’s Hospital to offer assistance through the donation of art supplies in this time of great need. Through donations fromenCourage Kids Foundation and Dick Blick Art Materials, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department of Kravis Children’s Hospital was able to coordinate the donation of approximately $14,000 of art supplies. “On behalf of the hospital’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Domingo Cruz, the hospital (San Jorge Children’s Hospital), the child life program and our patients, we greatly appreciate all the help you have provided with your donations. Everything we have received will be put to use by the child life program, the art therapy group in our mental health unit and our tutors in the oncology unit,” Urania Dominguez, Child Life Coordinator, San Jorge Children’s Hospital.


Kravis Children’s Hospital Celebrates the Winter Holidays

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Departments celebrated the winter holidays in style with many special events and visitors. Our annual holiday party was hosted on December 13 for patients, families and staff to engage in food, fun and our photo booth.  Patients and families were able to Skype with Santa from the North Pole; cast members from the play Dear Evan Hansen starred on a KidZone TV show singing carols and creating their own songs; and of course Santa made visits to patients and families on Christmas day. Santa was accompanied by his two “reindogs,” Professor and Amos, who brought smiles and gifts to the bedsides of patients admitted for the holiday.

Special Events Highlights

In addition to our winter celebrations, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department hosted many special visitors and events, including Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell;  Charlie Cox of Netflix’s Daredevil; Encourage Kids artist Synthia St. James; our first annual KidZone TV Talent Show; the Heisman winner Baker Mayfield; Sesame Street and friends;  Shahadi Wright Joseph and many more. Each special guest brought fun, smiles and laughter to our patients and families, and we are so thankful to each and every one of them for taking the time to come and visit Kravis Children’s Hospital.

Special events in Child Life


Staff Accomplishments and Updates

From left to right: Alex Jamison, Lindsay Davis, Amos, Gabriel Sloan, Brigit Young


Alex Jamison is the new Child Life Assistant in the Zone. With her background in Recreational Therapy, Alex will be providing patients with purposeful play and activities in the Zone! Outside of work, Alex loves performing with various community theaters!

Lindsay Davis is the new Child Life Specialist for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  She works with caregivers and siblings to provide emotional and educational support and to help ease the stress of having a baby in the NICU.  She also provides developmental play sessions for older babies on the unit who are ready to start working on their milestones.  In her free time, Lindsay enjoys photography as well as Latin dancing.

Amos is our second facility dog. He works on the inpatient units, the KidZone TV Studio, and in the Family Corner. When he is not working, Amos loves playing in the park and on the beach, rolling around on his back, and receiving lots and lots of belly rubs.

Gabriel Sloan is the new weekend KidZone TV show producer. His live programming allows patients and families to call in and participate in the shows. In his spare time, Gabriel enjoys watching sports, running and video games.

Brigit Young is the Creative Writing Specialist, working with patients on expressing themselves through the written word. She also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Surge, Kravis Children’s Hospital’s literary journal, which includes the work of patients as well as teen writers from Writopia Lab. Brigit is the author of the middle grade novel Worth a Thousand Words (published by Macmillan) and is currently hard at work on her next novel, due out in 2019!


Ali Spike, Toshiko Nonaka, and Morgan Stojanowski, Child Life Specialists, presented at the Child Life of Greater New York Conference about our facility dog programming. Their presentation was entitled “Paws & Play: A 360 degree overview of a Facility Dog Program.”

Ali Spike, Child Life Specialist, and Gabriela Ortiz, Music Therapist, presented on a pain grand rounds panel on “Practical Approaches to Optimal Pain Management: An Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion.”

Lauren Smith, Child Life Specialist and Art Therapist, was accepted to present at the Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Care in Boston. She will be presenting along with Ana Berlin, MD, MPH, FACS on “Co-Modal Art Therapy: Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Create a Personalized Tool for the Emotional Assessment Toolbox.”

Tori Zucker, Child Life Specialist, added Paws & Play Program Coordinator to her job responsibilities. Tori and Ali Spike oversee the programming to provide the best Animal Assisted Therapy services to patients and families.

Brigit Young, Creative Writing Specialist, publish her poetry in two literary journals. Her poems are entitled “Birth” which was published in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, and “One Night in Queens” published in The Ocotillo Review.


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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