ACLP Bulletin | Spring 2023 | VOL. 41 No. 2

Alison E. Heron, MBA, CAE

Welcome to Spring!

Spring is lovely, representing new beginnings, flourishing flowers, and milder temperatures. It’s a season of renewal and we are excited to extend that growth and development as we host our second Emotional Safety Summit before the start of ACLP’s Child Life Annual Conference in Grapevine, Texas, on June 13-14.

In 2019, the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) held the fi rst national Emotional Safety Summit, bringing healthcare professionals together to develop a four-pillar framework to serve as the foundation for this work. In 2023, ACLP will advance the conversation by hosting a second Summit to include leaders of healthcare organizations and associations with a vested interest in advancing the emotionally safe care of our pediatric patients. ACLP continues to focus on our 2022-2024 strategic priority area of Partnerships, Collaborations, and Connections goal to strengthen community and collaboration through engagement and leadership among the child life community, allied partners, and those we serve. Many invited non-child life organizations board and executive leadership plan to attend, including Beryl Institute, Society of Pediatric Nurses, Joint Commission, and American Academy of Pediatrics, to name a few led by our subject matter experts from the ACLP Patient and Family Experience Committee and facilitator Lowell Aplebaum, FASAE, CAE, CPT, CEO of Vista Cova.

We are also excited to have patient families attend to share their stories. Together, we can transform healthcare by making emotionally safe medical care the standard of practice in pediatrics.

The 2023 Child Life Conference is quickly approaching! While virtual events are convenient and accessible, nothing compares to in-person events’ distinctive and incomparable experiences. They foster authentic human connections, promote collaboration, and offer meaningful engagement and personal development opportunities. The conference includes informative and relevant sessions on various topics, including gender-affirming care, state custody requirements for hospitalized children, DEI initiatives, and emotional well-being.

Our Keynote Speakers, Dr. Nabil El-Ghoroury, Ph.D., CAE, and Rebekah Taussig, will share valuable and impactful information on managing burnout in child life and rethinking what accessibility and inclusion look like and transforming the patient experience. We are excited to off er hospital tours again, and I’m equally happy to attend my fi rst hospital tour. New this year is the ACLP Aspiring Professionals Resource Center, a half-day event on Saturday, 5 June 17, dedicated to aspiring professionals.

Thank you to our conference sponsors, Disney and United Therapeutics Oncology, as well as our exhibitors for supporting ACLP’s vision to foster community and enable learning through in-person networking and education. We have already surpassed our registrations and exhibitor attendance from last year and strive for continuous improvement and innovation at ACLP’s annual conference.

We need YOU! Our 2024 Call for Abstracts will be open from July 1-31, 2023. We will be accepting submissions for 2024 ACLP Webinars as well as 2024 Conference Sessions. Our 2024 conference is May 23-26 at the Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. We encourage you to seize this opportunity to present your cutting-edge research, innovative ideas, and valuable insights invite you to submit proposals for webinars, conference presentations, conference posters, and conference intensives on topics such as gender-affirming care, DEI, emotionally safe care, research and innovation in child life, gun violence prevention and safety, etc.

Gun violence is a public health crisis impacting children, families, and communities, and condolences are not enough. The child life community supports the children and families they serve as they navigate these crises in their schools and communities, and ACLP is here to help you. A new ACLP Gun Violence Prevention & Safety Advocacy Toolkit is available to offer recourse to make your voices heard. Resources include tips and best practices for contacting your elected officials, sample phone and email scripts to either support or oppose elected officials’ stances on gun regulations, social media messages to share, and much more.

Every child deserves to feel safe in every aspect of their life.

Remember, hope is not passive; it is an active force that propels us forward. Hold onto it fiercely, nurture it, and allow it to guide your actions. You have the resilience, determination, and spirit to overcome any difficulty that comes your way. Always keep sight of the fact that brighter days are on the horizon. Let us face the challenges with hope, strength in our spirits and the unwavering belief that we will emerge better together.

With heartfelt encouragement,

Alison E. Heron, MBA, CAE