Our young friend and the parents absolutely LOVED the video you created! Originally, I had planned to show it to them in Pre-Op, though the team was quite speedy in administering the pre-med and transferring our friend to the operating room. We watched it together the following morning in the PICU and they especially LOVED the magic trick! I was instructed to rewind the video a couple times during this portion so they could watch it multiple times.
Amazingly, the family was discharged one day after the surgery, though remained nearby at the Children’s House for precautionary reasons. The mom shared that they watched the “clown show” several more times and shared it with friends and family.
I am so grateful you were able to create this, and sincerely appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you placed in it. It’s no secret to me how beneficial humor and silliness are in a child’s coping with hospitalization. Healthy Humor clown visits are justifiably a routine and necessary component in our patients’ coping.
I know we’re doing something right when a child tells their parents they are “excited to see the clowns in Baltimore.”
Thank you for your enthusiasm, thank you for your kindness, thank you for your partnership…and most of all, thank you for ceaseless support!”
Crissie Traugott, M.Ed., CCLS | Child Life Specialist Child Life Volunteer Coordinator Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and Outpatient Neurology
Dr. Ya Don’t Say! and I performed last Friday. Our first visit was with a frequent flyer (oncology patient) we had visited with the week before. This friend always asks who styles my hair.
We had a lot of fun with Dr. Ya Don’t Say!’s toupee and had a fashion show with the wigs. One wig had so much hair that it covered Dr. Ya Don’t Say!’s whole head, and our friend said that he looked like Judge Judy. He had our friend laughing really hard!
We did a few awful magic tricks. Our frequent flyer, of course, figured them out quickly and called us out on them. We played a few word games our young friend made up, and then we played hide and seek. Our Frequent Flyer lay flat on the bed so they were out of the screen, while Dr. Ya Don’t Say! and I ran out of our screens. Max (our in-hospital helper) was it and had to find us. Very fun.
In the wake of the recognition of COVID-19’s disproportionately deadly impact on African-Americans, the national, anguished response to the brutal murder of George Floyd, and its searing indictment of racism in this country, the United States has been grappling with its racial past, its racial present, and a yearning for a truly equitable racial future. Conversations are happening at every level of society as Americans examine their practices and cultural norms, as well as their own personal sense of responsibility with regard to these issues. At Healthy Humor, it has been a time for us to analyze and re-affirm our own commitment to equality.
Marking our four-year anniversary in this moment has allowed us to reflect on how we are succeeding – or not – in living out our stated values, the first of which is: We are driven to serve those in our world who are hurting. We have made progress in several areas. Cognizant of the fact that we operate in a healthcare industry that does not provide access to care equally for all those who are hurting, we allocate 50% of our budget to partnerships with under-resourced hospitals that suffer from systemic inequality as they serve populations that are overwhelmingly black and brown. Our principles are reinforced with each Red Nose Doc to ensure that every child who interacts with HH is welcomed, cared for, and loved, regardless of background, race or creed. And they are reflected in the composition of our executive staff and board, 40% of which is African-American.
Our efforts toward equality are imperfect, however. While these values drive our hiring, training and leadership development practices, we are still not where we want to be as an organization in this regard. We are committed to building the most representative workforce in the healthcare clowning field and will redouble our efforts to do so. We will infuse our existing professional development regimen with a more intentional focus on diversity and inclusion. And we will continue to strengthen our organizational responsiveness to issues of equity.
On a personal note, as a black woman, I have found these past few months to be particularly wrenching – living in a society that is wrestling so publicly with issues that many of us quietly, daily, navigate. One source of comfort has been knowing that I am part of an effort that has continued putting good out into the world, pushing through even as trauma rattled so many of us. I believe deeply, passionately, in the mission of this organization and its ability to be a balm in the midst of suffering. Humor is healing. Joy is transformative. When too many of us are still being judged by the color of our skin, laughter connects us to each other’s humanity in a way that few other things can. At a time of intense personal and public grief, I am immensely grateful to lead an organization that is Using Laughter for Good.
Healthy Humor, Inc. seeks local, experienced, professional performing artists/actors to perform year-round in pediatric hospitals. A specialty in variety skills such as physical comedy, improvisation, music, clowning, magic, juggling, dance or puppetry is a distinct advantage.
Over the past 30 years, Healthcare Clowning has grown, worldwide, from a powerful idea to an evidence-based practice and developing profession with a growing body of scientific research that demonstrates that “hospital clowns play a significant role in reducing stress and anxiety levels in children admitted to hospitals as well as their parents.”
Healthcare Clowning also offers performing artists a way to utilize their art form in service to their communities.
Reference: 1. Sridharan, Kannan, “Therapeutic clowns in pediatrics: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” European Journal of Pediatrics, August 2016.