ACLP Bulletin | Summer 2023 | VOL. 41 No. 3

Alisha Saavedra, MA, CCLS (she/her)

First and foremost, I am deeply honored to be serving as your new ACLP Board of Directors President. It is a pleasure to work alongside such an incredible group of esteemed colleagues on the Board. Their level of diverse expertise, dedication, and volunteer service is impressive!

As a collective, we have continued to make great strides, using the strategic plan as our guide, while maintaining focus on ACLP’s mission and core values. Diversity, equity, and inclusion remain at the core of our collaborative dialogue, and open-mindedness paired with innovation has allowed for great contributions to the profession. I invite you to join us on this journey. Whether it is through volunteering on a committee, task force, work group, or micro-volunteer opportunity or attending an affinity group meeting, webinar, or meet-up, there are many way to engage in work that is meaningful with ACLP. Our goal is to continue developing new opportunities, whether it is through committee, task force or work group, participating in our newly updated mentorship program, responding to be a part of a focus group or micro volunteer offerings such as being an abstract reviewer, or attending an affinity group meeting. Each of these actions helps to propel the profession forward and reflects our core values of integrity, equity, inclusivity, collaboration, and excellence.

In our June Board meeting, we reviewed updates and motions put forth by our remarkable ACLP committees, work groups, and task forces. Our Board meeting was followed by the Emotional Safety Summit II and the week culminated in our 2023 Child Life Conference. To provide some highlights, I’ll share some insight on a few topics.

The first item is the ACLP Bylaws revision. To reflect the new organizational structure of the Child Life Certification Commission (CLCC) becoming a 501(c)6, a Bylaws revision was necessary. Additionally, the Bylaws changes signify that our organization’s governance is dedicated to further promotion of anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. View the ACLP Bylaws Changes & Rationale Document for a full list of all proposed changes. 

There was also robust and purposeful discussion about the program evaluation of ACLP’s Clinical Internship Accreditation and recommendations brought forth by outside consulting agency, SeaCrest. The Board also took into consideration the future of academic endorsement by extensively reviewing information and recommendations brought forth by the Academic Excellence Task Force. Both programs were recognized as having significant value across all stakeholders. You may read more about the decision outcomes and future work related to recognizing clinical and academic excellence in Welcome to the Board Room.

During the Emotional Safety Summit II, ACLP hosted leaders from various allied organizations. The summit, facilitated by Lowell Aplebaum of Vista Cova, was designed with two primary goals in mind: to further promote emotional safety as a standard of practice in pediatrics and healthcare; and to provide framework strategies to support institutions in implementation of care which fosters a culture of emotional safety. The two-day summit provided valuable insight into the opportunities and challenges related to advancing emotional safety. Continued engagement in the future, through the formation of an emotional safety coalition, will provide ongoing support of the summit goals. 

The 2023 Child Life Conference offered an array of session topics and new opportunities for attendees, such as a half-day intensive on creating a culture of sexual orientations and inclusion (SOGI), a session about making difficult changes in child life coverage models, and effective precepting in the age of Generation Z. This year, aspiring professionals were able to visit the new Student Resource Center and inquire about the pathway to the profession. Child life specialists and ACLP staff were present and available to offer information about specialties, child life career experiences, applying for internships, and tips for professional communication, such as  resume writing.

The closing keynote speaker at this year’s conference was provided by Rebekah Taussig, author of Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body. I had the pleasure of meeting Rebekah and felt a kindred connection with her as we talked about loss and living in the “both and” where grief and joy coexist. Our conversation and her speech deeply resonated with me as I think about the year ahead. As we navigate a post pandemic era and are hopeful in our work to address the staffing crisis and pathway to the profession, we can also acknowledge that it has been challenging these past few years. Rebekah reminded us that we don’t have to choose between grief and joy, we get to experience both.

The glimmers of joy we feel when working with children and families and the passion to keep our child life profession going is strong. Earlier this year, it was at the Staffing Crisis and Pathway to the Profession Think Tank where I was reminded of the joy so many of you share for child life and witnessed a shared interest in supporting ACLP and strengthening connections across all stakeholders. It was a glimmer of joy and inspiration to see! My hope for you in the year ahead is that there are glimmer moments that bring joy and peace as we forage ahead with new opportunities and possibilities to create change. 

Warm Regards,

Alisha Saavedra, MA, CCLS
ACLP Board of Directors President