Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award

The ACLP Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award is presented annually to an individual child life specialist who has demonstrated exemplary child life care and a high level of clinical skill.

This award is named after, and honors, the late Mary Barkey. Mary was a pioneer in the field of child life. Innovative methods she and the late Barbara Stephens developed became known as "Comfort Measures", which have been adopted by hospitals nationally and internationally.

Learn more about how Mary Barkey revolutionized the field of child life as well as child- and family-centered care.

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In order to be nominated an individual must be a Certified Child Life Specialist who is an ACLP Member in good standing and spends at least 75% of their work hours serving in a direct clinical role. 

In addition, a candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates the ability to work collaboratively with other health care team disciplines in the delivery of patient care which results in positive outcomes for patients  

  • Demonstrates advanced competence and an ability to provide effective interventions in a variety of situations and models exemplary practice of child life through critical thinking, inquiry, evaluation, and a commitment to continuous improvement  

  • Demonstrates strong professionalism and values-driven interactions that include clear, supportive, boundaries-sensitive, and professional relationships with patients and families

  • Exercises sensitivity to the individual circumstances of patients/families and provides supporting and nurturing care and models child life practice and team behaviors that acknowledge and respect the diversity of patients/families and members of the health care team

  • Embraces and models the core concepts of patient- and family-centered care including information-sharing to support patient/family participation, collaboration and involvement in their care 

  • Participates in the development and incorporation of evidence-based practice

  • Mentors new child life specialists and students in developing child life competencies and supporting the effective transition to professional practice 

No present ACLP Board member is eligible for nomination. 

Nominate an individual

MBA Nomination Process

The following outlines the process to nominate an individual for the MBA.

Nominate an individual for the 2025 MBA Award

2024 MBA Recipient

2024 - Julia Mendoza, CCLS

Julia Mendoza began her career as a Certified Child Life Specialist at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. She has continued to be an integral part of the team for more than 17 years.

Over the years, she has served as a child life specialist in several units such as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Inpatient Surgical Unit and served for more than 10 years in the Outpatient Pediatric Dialysis Unit.  In 2021, Julia advocated to adapt an open float position in efforts to prioritize child life services to Spanish-speaking patients and families. Julia currently serves as the Bilingual Child Life Specialist, and receives consults into all areas of the hospital- PICU, NICU, Heart Center, General Pediatrics, Outpatient Dialysis and Oncology.

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Previous Recipients

The ACLP Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award is presented to an individual child life specialist who has demonstrated exemplary child life care and a high level of clinical skill. 

Read more about the previous MBA recipients.

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