Child Life Discover

2018 Issue 2
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Child Life Specialist Recognized for Outstanding Work

In February, Marcia Graham, Certified Child Life Specialist, at Mount Sinai Beth Israel (MSBI) was selected to receive the Heart Award – MSBI’s most prestigious annual award.   After coordinating child life services in the inpatient environment at MSBI for many years, Marcia transitioned to MSBI’s pediatric emergency areas where she developed comprehensive programming for pediatric patients and families.   Marcia’s commitment to clinical excellence and her strong interdisciplinary collaborations were highlighted at the March award ceremony.  Marcia has worked in collaboration with the larger department at Mount Sinai to advance her clinical skills and bring them back to MSBI. We are proud to have overseen Marcia’s transition and continue to partner in our shared efforts to enhance the hospital experience.

From Left to Right: Cheryl Strauss, CCLS; Marcia Graham, CCLS; Diane Rode, Director of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department


Parent Coffee Hour

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department offers a weekly coffee hour in the family corner for caregivers of our pediatric patients. Every Wednesday from 3-4pm, parents and caregivers are invited to our space to take a break and enjoy coffee, tea, hot chocolate and sweets. Since November 2017, the attendance in coffee hour has doubled, and at times tripled, thanks to our furry friend Amos who now joins each session. Visitors are drawn to the family corner with the excitement of meeting and petting Amos, who works alongside his handler, Mathea Jacobs, during this time. Mathea happily answers a variety of questions about Amos’ age and breed, how he handles subway rides every morning and where he sleeps at night from curious parents. Families love to share stories about their pets or wishes to own a pet in the future. Amos has brought a new sense of warmth and calmness to the coffee hour in the same way he does for patients.

Amos, alongside handler Mathea, interacts with parents in coffee hour


Dog Training

Just as our clinical staff benefits from emotional support surrounding the work they do, our facility dogs need an outlet as well to keep them sharp and performing to the best of their abilities. Enter Rikke Brogaard, dog trainer extraordinaire. Rikke works with Amos and Professor, as well as their handlers, twice a week teaching them cues and tricks to help better their work with our pediatric patients and families. She helps to address their cognitive needs, using methods that are educational as well as enjoyable for our pups. Rikke also appears on a bi-monthly KidZone TV show where patients and families can tune in to learn more about working with dogs and can ask questions about dog training.

Child Life Specialist Madison with Amos, practicing taking "medicine" with Rikke

Patient Corner

From the current SURGE magazine:

Special Events Highlights

As we transition from winter to spring, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department remains busy welcoming special guests to the hospital for wonderful events for our patients and families. In February, Anna and Elsa helped us celebrate Valentine’s Day during our Zone party, where patients and families enjoyed special treats and crafts. Additionally, the Zone hosted our first ever Zone Olympics with various “sporting” events and Olympic-themed shows for patients and families to participate in. In March, we celebrated Child Life Month and our Paws & Play program celebrated its one year anniversary with cake and dog-themed activities. The KidZone TV studio hosted its second KidZone TV Talent Show in April. Other events included a visit from the cast of the Phantom of the Opera, Elle Winter and Broadway BINGO!

Special events in Child Life


Staff Accomplishments and Updates

Some of our staff showing heart!

Accomplishments and updates:

Diane Rode, Director of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department, offered a full day workshop to the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy staff at the University of Pittsburgh in “Video and Live Broadcast as Therapeutic Modalities” and a full day intensive in clinical supervision in Child Life at the Annual Conference for the Association of Child Life Professionals in Washington, DC. 

Alexandra Jamison was recently promoted to Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist! Way to go Alex! 

Jennifer Reeves, CCLS, will be shifting her role to offer full time services to the General Pediatrics Clinic starting this summer.

Ali Spike and Toshiko Nonaka, CCLS, presented their poster at the annual conference for the Association of Child Life Professionals on staff support with facility dogs. Ali also presented alongside other child life specialists and their facility dogs from across the country about facility dog programming.

Gabriela Ortiz, Music Therapist, presented at the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association Conference. Her presentations included “Career Mapping: Developing My Brand as Music Therapist" and "Environmental Music Therapy in ICU Settings: Considerations for Research and Practice." She also sat on a panel for the conference along with fellow Music Therapists from the region.


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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