Distinguished Service Award
Since 1988, the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) has honored the child life profession’s outstanding leaders and pioneers with the annual Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor presented by the ACLP Board of Directors, recognizing exceptional members for their outstanding contributions to the field of child life. Below is a history of Distinguished Service Award recipients.
Nominations for the 2023 Distinguished Service Award open September 1, 2023 and are due September 16, 2023. If you would like to suggest a child life leader to be considered for this significant recognition by the Award Committee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2023 - Jill Koss, MS, CCLS
Jill Koss started as a child life specialist at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, and over 30 years later is the director of family support services there. She has been involved in many aspects of ACLP over the years, from Vision-to-Action in 1996; to certification, serving as senior chair in 2009; she has been a mentor in Leadership Mentor Program; and was previously on the board of directors, as a past president of ACLP. Jill has an MS in child development from Texas Woman's University.
Read more about Jill HERE
2022 - Lois J. Pearson, M.ED, CCLS
Lois J. Pearson, M.ED, CCLS was working in education as an aide to a young student with Spina Bifida in the early 1970’s when her young daughter was hospitalized for ten days. Lois’ experience with being the parent of a hospitalized and frightened daughter, along with her passion for education, began her Child Life journey. Lois learned about Child Life in Hartford, Connecticut where she was living before her move to Wisconsin in 1977. At that time Lois’ kids were growing and more independent so she looked for a Child Life program to further her education. When she could not find a program she worked with UW- Milwaukee to create a focus for her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Child Life under consultation with University of Connecticut.
Lois graduated and then proposed a Child Life program to her local hospital three times. The third time was the charm as they allowed her to bring the program to their hospital as a volunteer! Lois worked the first two years of her Child Life career as a thirty hour a week volunteer! During that time she offered pre surgery preparation, began a grief group for kids who have had a parent die, developed a hospital education program for well children, gave tours and hospital exposure to hundreds of first graders in her community and developed a tradition of bringing small children to surgery in a little red wagon rather a gurney. Finally, the hospital saw the value in Child Life and Lois continued her work there for six years. Lois then took a position at Children’s Wisconsin where she worked on both the ICU and the PICU for twenty four years.
Lois also reconnected with her passion for teaching when she was introduced with Sister Nancy Rae Reisdorf, who had brought Child Life education to Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, from London, England. Lois began teaching Child Life 1986.
Lois has authored several Chapters in Child Life textbooks: Meeting the Psychosocial Needs, Across the Health Care Continuum, The Pips of Child Life, Early Play Programs in Hospitals, and The Handbook of Child Life, A Guide for Pediatric Psychosocial Care. Lois retired from Children’s Wisconsin and came out of retirement for six more years when offered the opportunity to help develop an adult based Child Life program helping children and grandchildren of adult patients.
Lois also served as co chair of the archives committee for many years. She enjoyed traveling to Utica College and working closely with good friend, Civita Brown.
Career highlights include the opportunity to interview T. Berry Brazelton along with Civita Brown at his vacation home on Cape Cod, teaching Child Life to many students, and the privilege to share the immense sorrows and joys of so many children and their families through hospital programs, grief groups, education, and community outreach.
Read more about Lois HERE.
2021 - Carla (Oliver) Barrentine, MSW, CCLS
Carla (Oliver) Barrentine received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from Kent State University in 1993 and her Master of Social Work from University of Houston in 2001. Carla did her child life internship at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. Mary Barkey was her internship supervisor. Her social work internships were at Habitat for Humanity and with the Juvenile Justice System in Texas.
Carla began her career as an outpatient child life specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital, in Houston, for three years. From there, she moved on to Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston where she found her clinical passion of working with patients and families who had been impacted by a serious burn injury. Carla has been the Director of Operations at Children’s Hospital Colorado since 2009. She oversees the Child Life Department, Creative Art Therapies Department, Spiritual Care Department, Seacrest Studios, The Teammates for Kids Zone, The Extended Reality Program (XRP) and the Medical Dog Program.
Carla started volunteering with ACLP more than 20 years ago, as an abstract reviewer. She later joined the Conference Planning Committee. She also served as a Director on the ACLP Board of Directors. Carla is a past president of ACLP, where she had the opportunity to develop and lead strategic planning for the profession. Most recently, Carla chaired ACLP’s Patient and Family Experience Task Force (now a committee) for 3 years, and remains a member today. She was also one of the leaders for the ACLP International Summit and the ACLP Emotional Safety Summit.
Carla has worked with children and families from all over the world, in her work as a child life specialist. She has been involved with outreach and education to patients, families, and professionals in Mexico, Central America, Australia, Canada, and Europe. In her role as president of the Association of Child Life Professionals, Carla helped to lead the International Summit on Pediatric Psychosocial Services, where professionals from 45 countries came together to discuss the global state of pediatric psychosocial care and development of these services worldwide. Beyond this, her 25+ years of practice has allowed her to work with patients and families from diverse (socio-economic, sexual orientation, gender identification, spiritual, and racial/cultural) backgrounds.
Read more about Carla here.
2020 - Civita Brown, MSEd, CCLS
Civita A. Brown, MSEd, CCLS began her journey into the field of child life in 1977, when she enrolled as the first student in Utica College’s Psychology-Child Life Program under the mentorship of Dr. Gene Stanford. She subsequently completed internships at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, New York, and in 1978, she established the child life program at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Thompson. She returned to Utica College in 1987 as Director of Medical Education for the Clinical Medical Network, a New York State grant-funded program intended to develop and retain physicians. Concurrently, she joined the Department of Psychology-Child Life as an adjunct professor, and in 1993, she became Coordinator of Internships for the Psychology-Child Life Department. She retired from teaching in 2017.
In 2003, Civita implemented the first program to provide comprehensive child life services in a school district at Sauquoit Elementary School in Sauquoit, New York, work which was supported by an Appleby Award and published in a chapter entitled “The School Setting” in Child Life Beyond the Hospital (Hicks ed., 2008). In 2009, she and Susan Cooper, CCLS formed Brown & Cooper, LLC to provide child life consulting service. They subsequently received a grant from the Madison-Oneida County BOCES/CORE Program to offer child life services to five school districts between 2010 and 2016, the first such program in the U.S.
2019 - Deborah Vilas, MS, CCLS, LMSW
Deborah Vilas (Deb) is a faculty advisor and instructor in the Child Life Program at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City, where she coaches graduate students in how to provide meaningful and therapeutic play experiences for hospitalized children. Deborah has worked with children as a child life specialist, preschool teacher, and social worker. A writer, blogger, and international public speaker, Deborah has presented and taught in New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Mexico, the Palestinian Territories, Australia, the Philippines, and Japan. In 2016, she participated in a panel presentation about child life and technology at the United Nations. In 2014, Deborah represented her profession and her country as a keynote speaker at the first global summit on pediatric psychosocial care in hospitals, addressing delegates from 46 countries on the importance of play for sick and injured children. Her blog www.pediaplay.com
reaches followers in over 65 countries.
2018 - Joan Turner, Ph.D., CCLS
Joan Turner is an Associate Professor of Child and Youth Study at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Prominent contributions to the profession include The Pips of Child Life: Early Play Programs in Hospitals (2014) and The Pips of Child Life: The Middle Years of Play Programs in Hospitals (2016) both co-edited with Civita Brown of Utica College, New York. Subsequent to entering the field as a novice child life specialist with Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre (1987-1998), Joan completed a doctorate degree (2002) supported by the Eleanor Blumenthal Fellowship at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The Fellowship was established to support the child life major in the department of Human Development and Family Studies and the child life program at the university hospital.
Grounded in both practice and academic perspectives, Joan fortified her passion for all things child life through teaching, research, writing and the Association for Child Life Professionals committees. Varied contributions to the child life profession have been substantial and include Associate and Executive Editor of the Child Life Focus/Bulletin (2006-2008/2010), Child Life Focus Review Board (2010-2015), Member and Chair of the Child Life Archives Management Group (2010–2017/2018), Chair: Task Force on Scholarship and Research (2010-2011) and member of the Evidence-Based Practice Committee (2005-2007). She supervises both undergraduate honors and graduate thesis research at Mount Saint Vincent University where students often explore topics closely related to child life interests. Academic and community work extend her professional engagement into early childhood, early intervention and related child and youth topics in Nova Scotia. Joan is particularly proud of establishing the Child Life Alphabet column in the Child Life Bulletin (2008) which continues today as the Child Life Alphabet 2.0. She is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters and often presents at the child life and related conferences.
2017 - Anita Pumphrey, M.S., CCLS,
Early in her career, in 1993, Anita started the first child life program at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Louisiana. She then moved into academic education in the fall of 1995, teaching in Family and Child Studies at Louisiana Tech University in the School of Human Ecology, where she still works currently. Anita was instrumental in founding and developing the university’s child life program into the thriving and dynamic course of study that it is today. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her teaching and work at the university, including the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award and the F. Jay Taylor Undergraduate Teaching Award, both high honors from the University. For over twenty years, Anita has been highly involved in the work of the Child Life Council (now known as the Association of Child Life Professionals, or ACLP). To date, she has served on eleven committees, served twice on the executive board of directors, authored several publications, and presented many innovative sessions at conference. She was deeply invested in the early stages of the endorsement of child life academic and internship programs, bringing a consistent and visionary voice to these initial steps. Today, she continues to share her wisdom and expertise as the Association of Child Life Professionals moves forward in accrediting and endorsing academic and internship programs. Moreover, she co-represented ACLP on a site visit to Spain where she helped to guide, coach, and mentor the design of a child life master’s program at the University of Barcelona. Anita Pumphrey is a courageous servant-leader who continues her extraordinary work and vision in child life; she is a great model of distinguished service.
2016 Diane Hart, M.A., CCLS, EDAC
Diane's career in child life began at BC Children's Hospital in British Columbia in 1988, where she worked as the child life specialist on the adolescent unit for nine years. In 1997, she took a break from clinical work and worked on an initiative called ON TRAC—a service for youth and hospital staff to develop transition pathways from pediatric to adult care. Subsequently, Diane became the supervisor of the child life department, and then she welcomed an exciting opportunity: in 2001 she was seconded to BC Children's Hospital Foundation for one year, replacing a fundraising manager while she was on maternity leave. Diane then became the Director for Child Life in 2008 and the Director of Patient & Family Centered Care in 2014. Diane is an accomplished leader who is passionate about patient- and family-centered care, and she sets a high standard as a leader and mentor. In recent years, Diane has been an extremely active volunteer with the The Association of Child Life Professionals. She served on the ACLP Executive Board from 2001-2003, 2008-2010, and 2011-2014, and on a number of committees, including Conference Planning, Bulletin, Leadership Development, and Nominating. Diane is currently the chair for the Governance By-Laws Subcommittee as well as a consultant for ACLP's Program Review and Development Service.
2015 - Susan Marchant, M.A., CCLS
Susan Marchant is a lecturer and student supervisor in child life at Mills College in Oakland, California. Prior to her teaching role, Susan spent 28 years at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, working in a series of clinical and management positions, culminating with her role as Manager of Child Life Services. During her tenure at Children’s, she was the key driver in the opening of the hospital’s first ever Family Resource Center, and she negotiated with the Oakland Unified School District to establish one of the premier hospital school programs in the country. After retiring in 2006, she brought her extensive clinical and leadership experience to the classroom at her alma mater, Mills College. Susan is recognized inside and outside of the child life community for her quiet strength and tireless dedication to the future of the profession, and has mentored, educated and advised many aspiring and currently practicing child life specialists over the years. Throughout her career, Susan has been an active volunteer with the Association of Child Life Professionals. She served as a member-at-large and secretary of the ACLP Executive Board from 1990 to 1994, a Certification Exam item writer from 1998 to 2000, and has chaired the Nominating Committee, the By Laws Committee, and Education & Training Committee. Other highlights include being selected as a delegate in ACLP’s Vision-to-Action strategic planning conferences in the 1990s, and joining Richard Thompson and Rebecca Reid in conducting a Program Review of the Psychology/Child Life Program at Utica College in 2002. In 2012, she accepted an invitation to travel to Japan to help establish a child life degree plan for Japanese students. Over the past few years, Susan has continued her commitment to the education and training of child life specialists as a member of the Academic Preparation and Graduate Program Accreditation Task Forces.
2014 - Peggy Jessee, Ph.D., CCLS
Dr. Peggy Jessee, professor emeritus of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has been an educator, researcher, author, presenter, editor, and consultant in child life and child development for nearly 25 years. Her focus has been to provide the best training and education for generations of child life students, past present, and future. Before her retirement in 2006, Dr. Jessee held a series of teaching and research positions at The University of Alabama, culminating in her role as Director of Child Development Laboratories and professor in child development and child life. She currently serves an adjunct professor for The University of Alabama, Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah and Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. She received her doctorate in Educational Psychology from The University of Alabama in 1989. Prior to her work in higher education, Dr. Jessee worked as a primary and secondary level school teacher. Over the course of her career, she has published more than 30 journal articles related to child life and child development, and has many additional publications addressing a variety of issues related to family and human development. She has also presented extensively at child life and multidisciplinary conferences on health care and social issues. For the Association of Child Life Professionals, she served as editor of the ACLP Bulletin from 1995-1998, was a member of the ACLP Executive Board from 2000-2004, and chaired the Child Life Certifying Committee from 2000-2003. She was also a member-at-large of the Board of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health from 1993-1996. She is currently a member of ACLP’s Research & Scholarship Committee.
2013 - Priti Desai, Ph.D., M.P.H., CCLS
Dr. Priti Desai is an assistant professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She completed a master’s degree in Child Development at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, and after piloting child life services as a volunteer at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad in 1986, she traveled to the U.S. to complete a child life internship at Johns Hopkins University. She returned to India, where she continued her volunteer work at the Civil Hospital, while working for CHETNA, a health education organization addressing the needs of children and families in rural, tribal, and urban slum areas of India. She returned to the U.S. in 1988, and, following advanced training, worked as a child life specialist at Johns Hopkins and at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore before moving to Atlanta in 1990 and joining Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center (now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, CHOA). At the Egleston Campus of CHOA, she successfully campaigned to evolve the patient activities service model to a comprehensive clinical child life program, and later initiated a successful child life internship program that continues to thrive today. During this time, she also earned her second master’s degree in public health from Emory University in Atlanta. In 2002, Priti took a teaching position in the Department of Child Development and Family Relations at East Carolina University (ECU), where she strengthened the clinical component of the program’s child life course offerings. She took doctoral classes at ECU, and focused on her research and more coursework during summer months to earn her doctorate degree from the Maharaja Sayajirao University in 2008. In addition to teaching her formal academic courses at ECU, Priti has conducted more than 60 presentations and workshops around the world, working as a volunteer leader and educator with organizations including Operation Smile, the K.G. Patel Children's Hospital, The Priyanka Foundation, and several other India-based organizations. For the Association of Child Life Professionals, Priti served as Treasurer of the ACLP Board of Directors from 2001 to 2003, and chair of the Diversity Committee from 1997 to 2001. She has been a member of the Conference Planning Committee, Partnership Committee, Practice Analysis Task Force, Child Life Bill of Rights Task Force, Academic Task Force, International Task Force, and, currently, the Research and Scholarship Committee. Priti’s published work includes research and review articles that have appeared in journals based in the U.S. and India, and she co-authored two chapters appearing in The Handbook of Child Life (2009).
2012 - Janet Cross, M.Ed., CCLS
Janet Cross is the Director of Patient and Family-Centered Care at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. She completed her undergraduate work in child development at Mississippi State University, and later went on to earn a Masters of Education degree from George Peabody College at Vanderbilt. She began her career as a child life specialist in 1981 at Vanderbilt, and in 1992, she assumed the role of Director of Child Life Services. During her 17-year tenure in that position, the child life program grew from five staff members to a team of 25, including 17 full-time child life specialists. In 2010, Janet became the Director of Patient and Family-Centered Care at Vanderbilt. For the Association of Child Life Professionals, she served as chair for the Child Life Certifying Committee at a time when the organization was making a controversial shift to certification by exam (1996-98). From 2007 to 2009, she served in the roles of President-Elect, President, and Immediate-Past President. She chaired the Nashville Conference Host Committee in 2005, and has been a member of a wide array of ACLP committees and task forces over the years, including the Ethics Committee and Governance Task Force. Currently she is a member of the Past Presidents Advisory Group, the ACLP Official Documents Revision Task Force, the Leadership Development Committee, and Salary Survey Work Group. She is also one of five leaders selected as a program reviewer for the ACLP Program Review and Development Service. Janet’s written contributions to the child life field include a chapter on child life administration in Richard Thompson’s Handbook of Child Life (2009), and co-authoring a position statement from the Association of Child Life Professionals entitled, “The Value of the Certification Credential in Child Life Services.”
2011 - Sheila Palm, M.A., CCLS
Sheila Palm is the Child Life Manager at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. She completed her child life internship at Johns Hopkins University, and her undergraduate degree in Child Development and Family Relationships at Colorado State University. She earned her master’s in Human Development from St. Mary’s University. After working as a child life specialist at Minneapolis Children’s Medical Center, Sheila was promoted to the role of Director of the Child Life Department. She spent nearly 20 years transforming a three-person program to a team of 18 staff members, and then in 1993, managed the merger of two separate child life departments as part of the system-wide hospital merger that created Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Under her steady and innovative leadership over the ensuing 18 years, the staff has grown to nearly 50 individuals. Beyond her work within her own institution, Sheila continually shares her expertise with other programs in her capacity as a reviewer on the ACLP Program Review and Development Service. On the ACLP Board of Directors, she served as Treasurer from 1992 to 1994, Certification Liaison and President-Elect from 1998 to 2000, and President from 2000 to 2002. Sheila has been a member of a long list of ACLP committees and task forces over the years, serving as chair of the Finance, Nominating, Membership, and Conference Program Committees. She has been actively involved in the development of a number of Association of Child Life Professionals publications and official documents, including academic and clinical standards, the Certification Candidate Manual, Program Review Guidelines, the ACLP Position Statement on Clinical Supervision and the Guidelines for the Development of Child Life Programs in Health Care Settings (2006 edition). Currently, Sheila is a member of the International Task Force, the Recertification Task Force, and the Past President’s Council.
2010 - Melissa “Missi” Hicks M.S., CCLS, LPC, RPT-S
Missi Hicks, who works as a child life consultant based in Raleigh, North Carolina, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, and her master’s degree in professional counseling from Georgia State University. She spent the first five years of her career as a child life specialist at Johns Hopkins University, and then in 1995, moved to Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she coordinated child life programming for pediatric cancer patients. In 2000, Missi relocated to Austin, TX with her husband, Henry. During her first year there, while working for the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Network, she began to explore the world of private practice and consulting as a child life specialist and counselor. Later, in collaboration with fellow child life specialist Meredith Cooper, LPC, M.A., CCLS, Missi formed the nonprofit organization Wonders & Worries, which offers psychosocial services for children and families outside of the hospital setting. Although Missi left Austin in 2003 to return to Atlanta, as co-founder she remains an active member of the Wonders & Worries Board of Directors. In Atlanta, Missi worked for several years as Program Director at the Camp Sunshine House. During that time, she was able to apply her unique experiences in settings both within and outside of the hospital, as editor of Child Life Beyond the Hospital. Missi served on the ACLP Executive Board as President-Elect from 2000-2002, President from 2002-2004, and Chair of the Past Presidents Council from 2004-2006. Previous to her work on the Board, she was chair of the Child Life Certifying Committee from 1997-2000, and she is currently volunteering for several ACLP committees.
2009 - Sharon McLeod, M.S., CCLS, CTRS
Sharon McLeod, the Senior Clinical Director of the Child Life Division at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in recreation administration at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1976. From 1976 to 1984, she worked as the child life coordinator for Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Illinois, before becoming Director of the child life program at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. In 1992, Sharon accepted a director position Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Over the course of her tenure there, the child life program has become the largest in the country, with a staff has more than quadrupled in size. Sharon has contributed to several healthcare publications, including a series of nursing textbooks, and she continues to present at conferences on topics related to child life management, career and clinical advancement. She has also worked as an instructor at School of Health Science and Nursing for the University of Cincinnati, and the School of Behavioral Health at the College of Mount Saint Joseph. Sharon has a long history of volunteer leadership with the Association of Child Life Professionals and the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH). On the ACLP Executive Board, she held the positions of Secretary from 1986 to 1988, President-Elect from 1996 to 1998, and President from 1998 to 2000. She also served as Secretary for ACCH from 1989 to 1992. She served as Chair of the Child Life Certifying Committee from 2005-2007, has twice served as chair of the ACLP Nominating Committee, and has worked as a member of numerous other ACLP committees over the years. Sharon was recently elected as ACLP Executive Board Treasurer, and will hold that position from 2009-2011.
2008 - LeeAnn Derbyshire Fenn, M.Sc., CCLS
LeeAnn Derbyshire Fenn, longtime instructor for McMaster University’s Child Life Studies Programme in Hamilton, Ontario, received her bachelor’s degree from Ryerson University in Toronto in 1976, and a master’s degree in Family Studies from the University of Guelph in 1989. From 1976 to 1981, she worked as a child life specialist at McMaster University Medical Centre, and then spent four years as the supervisor of Red Hill Children’s Centre in the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth. After her master’s studies at the University of Guelph, she became a research associate and lecturer for the Department of Family Studies from 1988 until 1995. In 1992, LeeAnn began work for McMaster University’s Child Life Studies Diploma Programme, and held a series of positions there including Director, Co-Director, Online Distance Learning Coordinator, and Associate Clinical Professor. During her time at McMaster, she was instrumental in pioneering the development of a series of online courses in child life, still in use today. LeeAnn has developed publications and presentations on topics including research, child life internships and education, and international child life issues. She was actively involved with both the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) and the Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders (CACLL). For ACLP, LeeAnn served as chair of the Mission, Vision, Values Committee in 1996, and lead the group to develop the Mission, Vision, Values statements, published in 1997. Later, she chaired the committee that revised the Official Documents of the Association of Child Life Professionals from 2000 until 2001. LeeAnn co-chaired the Education Committee, and served for two years as a Member-at-Large for the ACLP Executive Board (1999-2001). After 31 years in the field, LeeAnn retired from McMaster University in 2007.
2007 - Christina Brown, M.S., CCLS
Christina Brown, the Director of Child Life and Family-Centered Care at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, Texas, received a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 1978 and a master’s degree from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1987. From 1978 to 1981, she worked in early childhood education positions in Helsinki, Finland and then in Indiana. After her child life internship at Johns Hopkins in 1982, she went on to direct child life departments at James L. Kernan Hospital (Baltimore), MetroHealth Medical Center (Cleveland), Cook-Ft.-Worth Children’s Medical Center (Fort Worth, Texas), and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She also served as Bereavement Coordinator for the HEARTLIGHT program at Children’s Memorial Medical Center (Chicago) and has served as a faculty member at Howard County Community College and the University of Akron. In 2007, she joined the staff of Dell Children’s Medical Center. Chris has developed numerous publications and presentations on subjects including coping with loss, child life administrative issues, psychological preparation, play, creative arts, communication, and the training of child life specialists. She held various leadership positions in the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH), including President from 1997 to 1999. Chris served as President of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) from 1990 to 1992, in addition to chairing the Child Life Certifying Commission, serving as a ACLP Program Reviewer, and working on various committees. She has represented ACLP as a liaison member to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Hospital Care, from 2005 to the present.
2006 - Ellen Carr Hollon, M.S., CCLS
Ellen Carr Hollon, formerly the Director of Child Life/Child Development for the Children’s Medical Center Dallas, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Georgia in 1977, and received a master’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies from Purdue University in 1986. Ellen was a recreational therapist at Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospitals of the Medical College of Georgia, before accepting a child life position at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children of Indiana University Medical Center in 1980. Ellen became Child Life Manager at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago in 1986, Child Life Director (later Family and Child Life Services) at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, and Director in Dallas from 1994 to 2008. She served as a faculty member at Kent State University and the University of Akron. Ellen is a co-author of two recent research papers and has made numerous presentations on subjects including child life administrative topics, family-centered care, pain management, and professional boundary issues. She has had leadership roles in the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) and the Indiana Affiliate, and has been extremely active in Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) as President, Treasurer, Member-at-Large, Bulletin Editor and on committees including Conference Planning, Exam Development, Nominating, and Executive Director Search. Ellen was also an active participant in local activities representing her department and hospital.
2005 - Laura L. Gaynard, Ph.D., CCLS
Laura Gaynard, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Utah, received a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in 1976, a master’s degree from Utah State University in 1980, a second master’s degree from Wheelock College in Boston in 1984, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. Previously, she was the Child Life Director at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona and Coordinator of Child Life Services at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City. Laura also served as Director of Child Life, Language Services and Children’s Education at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City for 12 years. She served on the Executive Board of the Association of Child Life Professionals as well as on various committees. Laura was chosen as one of three child life specialists in the two-year Child Life Research Project sponsored by the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) from 1985 to 1987. The purpose of the project was to assess the effects of preparation, education, and psychosocial support on hospitalized children and their families. This provided the foundation for the ACLP publication Psychosocial Care of Children in Hospitals: A Clinical Practice Manual (available through the ACLP Bookstore). Laura has been an instructor at Utah State University, Wheelock College, and the University of Pennsylvania, and has worked on a variety of different research projects. She is the author of numerous articles and training/educational materials on child life and play, and has presented on topics including research, psychological preparation, and many other child life subjects. Among other awards, Laura was the recipient of Wheelock’s College’s Centennial Award in 1989 for outstanding contributions to her profession.
2004 - Ruth Kettner, CCLS
Ruth Kettner, Director of the Child Life Program at Winnipeg Children’s Hospital from 1970 to 1987, earned her Diploma of Applied Arts in Early Education from the Manitoba Institute for Technology and a certificate in Special Education from the University of Manitoba. As part of her vision for child life, Ruth lectured to medical, respiratory therapy, and nursing students and mentored local and international child life students. She was appointed as Assistant Professor with the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Manitoba School of Medicine. In 1977, she received the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal, and she went on to win the YWCA Woman of the Year Award in 1978. Ruth was actively involved in child life beyond her Winnipeg borders, liaising with other child life specialists and leaders in the Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders (CACLL), the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH), and the Association of Child Life Professionals to further the practice of child life. She held leadership roles in ACCH as both President of the Manitoba Affiliate and National Chairperson of the Affiliate Development and Coordination Committee. She served on the Executive Board of the Association of Child Life Professionals as Secretary, and was a member of the Children’s Health Care Journal editorial board.
Sally Francis Kehayes, M.S., M.A., CCLS
Sally Francis Kehayes, currently an educator and consultant, received a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, completing the first Tri Sigma Graduate Assistantship in Play Therapy at UNC Medical School, Department of Pediatrics in 1968. She subsequently completed a second master’s degree at Pacific Oaks College in California in 1974. During her career, she initiated the Recreational Therapy-Child Life Program at Duke University Medical School, as well as the Child Life Department in Texas at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (CMCD). While at CMCD, she was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Sally is the co-author of Pediatric Diagnostic Procedures and a series of booklets on child life practice developed with the child life staff at CMCD. She has also written several chapters in textbooks on pediatric psychosocial care. Her research projects included working with siblings of children with cancer. Sally is a founding board member of three camps for children with chronic healthcare needs. She had various leadership roles in the Association of Child Life Professionals as well as the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) where she was President from 1985-1987. In 1982 she was one of four ACCH members who were asked to explore creating an organization to replace the Child Life Task Force. The result of this work was the establishment of the Association of Child Life Professionals. After retiring, she taught child development at the University of Montana-Western and developed a crisis respite care training program throughout Montana for the Montana Council of Families. Now living in North Carolina, Sally serves as a Court Appointed Guardian ad Litem for child abuse cases and assists a variety of child and family organizations.
2003 - Kathleen A. Moffat, RN, M.S., CCLS (Awarded Posthumously)
Kathleen (Kathie) Moffat, founder of the Child Life Program at Montreal Shriners Hospital and later the Director of Child Life at Montreal Children’s Hospital, received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology at McGill University. She was also a Registered Nurse. After establishing the Child Life Program at Shriners in 1980, Kathie moved on to the program at Montreal Children’s Hospital, which had suffered many staffing cuts and was in need of leadership. Kathie was an active member of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) and also a charter member of the Association of Child Life Professionals, where she held several leadership positions over the years. In 1987 she became the first President of the Canadian Association of Child Life Directors, now the Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders. Kathie was one of three child life consultants to work with the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation (CCHSA) that established the CCHSA Accreditation Standards for Child Life Programs. She spoke in both the U.S. and Canada on issues relating to the care of children in hospitals. Kathie’s efforts on behalf of children extended overseas; from 1992 to 2002 she worked for the International Children’s Institute on a program created to rehabilitate injured, ill, or traumatized children in Bosnia. This was supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Her role in mentoring the program in Sarajevo was “vital,” according to those who worked with her there. The efforts prompted the CIDA Bosnia office to announce funding of four playrooms in local hospitals. Kathie died in 2002.
2002 - All Child Life Specialists
2001 - Kathleen McCue, M.A., LSW, CCLS
Kathleen McCue, the Children’s Program Director at the Gathering Place in Beachwood, Ohio, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas (Austin) in 1970 and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California in 1973. She also met all class requirements for a doctorate. Her early child life positions were at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Cardinal Glennon Memorial Hospital in St. Louis. Beginning in 1982, she was employed as a supervisor in the Child Life Program and Social Work Department at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where she earned her social work licensure. In addition to supervising the Child Life Program, she served as a social worker in the Emergency Department and a psychotherapist in Pediatric Psychology. Kathleen joined the Critical Incident Stress Management Team of Cuyahoga County, Ohio where she served as Clinical Director and worked as a CLS in the Emergency Department at University Hospitals of Cleveland. She then joined the Gathering Place, where she and her staff provide support to empower and educate those touched by cancer. Kathleen is the author of How To Help Children Through a Parent’s Serious Illness (available through the ACLP Bookstore) and has developed numerous publications and presentations on topics including psychological preparation, therapeutic relationships, children with cancer, impact of trauma, and other various child life subjects. In addition to serving as Affiliate President for two Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) affiliate groups, and serving on several ACCH committees, Kathleen held leadership roles in the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) as Secretary and then as President from 1994 to 1996.
2000 - Pat Azarnoff, M.Ed., CCLS
Pat Azarnoff was the Founding Director of Pediatric Projects Inc., a 20-year nonprofit corporation that developed medical toys and books, conducted psychosocial research under federal grants, provided consultation and in-service training and support to staff and counseling to families, and published Pediatric Mental Health, a newsletter summarizing research and describing programs. Pat received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri (Columbia) in 1955 and a master’s degree in child development and special education from Boston University in 1964. She taught children from preschool through high school age in the United States and Germany, and was a hospital teacher. Pat was the Director of the Child Life Program at UCLA Hospital and Clinics. She served on the faculties of Boston University Graduate School of Nursing, California State University (Northridge), Los Angeles Valley College, and the University of California School of Nursing (Los Angeles). She was also a guest lecturer at several other universities in the United States and, with fellowships from the World Health Organization, in Great Britain, Sweden, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Pat is the author of several books and numerous publications and presentations on therapeutic play, preparation, and parenting. She served as President of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) from 1975 to 1977, where she established study sections, one of which led to the creation of the Association of Child Life Professionals. She continues to update an extensive bibliography series on pediatric psychosocial issues and methods, distributed through the ACLP Bookstore. She remains active in child advocacy work with a variety of organizations.
1999 - Marsha Herman, B.S., CCLS
Marsha Herman, a former Executive Director of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP), received a bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University. Intending to become an early childhood teacher, she discovered the field of child life while still in college and participated in an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was employed as a child life specialist working with infants and toddlers in the Child Life Program at the Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital (then called Happy Hills). Next, she worked at the Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, DC) on several units including burn, cardiology, school age medical, oncology, outpatients, and infants. There she also served as a tour guide for preoperative patients. While working part-time at Children’s Hospital, Marsha pursued her interest in nonprofit administration by taking several graduate level courses. She also assisted the Child Life Certifying Committee and subsequently was employed part-time as Administrative Coordinator for ACLP in 1987. During Marsha’s 11.5 years tenure with ACLP, many milestones were reached for the organization, including: membership growth from 500 to 1400; elevation of the coordinator position to a full-time Executive Director with a staff; establishing a logo design for ACLP; moving into larger office space; enhancement of computer capabilities; ACLP planning its own conference for more than 500 attendees; and attainment of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, which allowed ACLP to become a freestanding organization.
1998 - Susan Pond Wojtasik, M.A., CCLS
Susan Wojtasik, the former Child Life Director at Schneider Children’s Hospital, graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree from Ripon College, and earned her master’s degree from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York City. Susan’s interest in advocacy for children and families in healthcare began while spending months with her daughter in the “preemie unit” at Bellevue Hospital. In 1972, she was elected to serve on Bellevue’s first Community Advisory Board and subsequently joined the Office of Urban Health Affairs as coordinator of the Community Medicine curriculum at New York University School of Medicine. Susan became the first director of the newly formed Child Life Department at Bellevue Hospital in 1980. She was instrumental in the development of the graduate child life courses at Bank Street College of Education and held faculty appointments at both Bank Street and the New York University School of Medicine. In 1991, Susan became the Child Life Director at Schneider Children’s Hospital of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Throughout her career, she has been actively involved in the Association for the Care of Children’s Health, the Association of Child Life Professionals, the New York Child Life Director’s Group, and other professional and community organizations. Susan was instrumental in the development of the Program Review Guidelines, and co-authored the ACLP publication Program Review Guidelines for Evaluation and Peer Review in 1986. She also chaired the committee that produced the Standards of Clinical Practice in the Official Documents of the Association of Child Life Professionals. Susan received a Distinguished Alumnae Award from Ripon College in 2002. Since her retirement in 2000, she has continued to serve on the ACLP Archives Management Group and the NYC Directors Group.
1997 - Linda E. Skinner, B.Ed., CCLS
Linda Skinner was the Professional Chief of the Child Life and School Services and the Coordinator of Child Life Centre Wide for the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She received a bachelor’s degree from University of Kings College in 1972, a bachelor’s degree in Education from Acadia University 1977, and is completing a master’s degree in Education from Acadia University. Linda was employed in 1977 as a child life specialist/ teacher/ assistant director at the IWK Children’s Hospital and promoted in 1981 to the position of Director of the program. Her title changed in 1998 with the hospital-wide changes. Linda has served as a faculty member at Mount Saint Vincent University and McMaster University. She has been a consultant to several Canadian hospitals and has held leadership positions at the IWK in addition to being honored with several staff awards. Linda is the author and co-author of several papers and book chapters and has made numerous presentations on subjects including child life administrative topics, ethics, pain management, psychological preparation, play and communication, and classification systems for child life. She has held leadership roles in the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) Atlantic Affiliate, and has been extremely active in the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP), serving on the Executive Board and on committees including Exam Development, Nominating, and Strategic Planning. Linda has also served with the Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders (CACLL) and was President from 1991 to 1995.
1996 - Richard H. Thompson, Ph.D., CCLS
Richard (Dick) Thompson, the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at The College of New Rochelle in New York, received a bachelor’s degree from Carlton College in 1972, a M.A.T. degree from the University of Louisville in 1974, and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983. He was employed as a teacher before accepting a position in the Child Life Department at the Minneapolis Children’s Health Center in 1975. Dick was chosen as a Research Associate for the Association for the Care of Children’s Health’s (ACCH) Child Life Research Project. This provided the foundation for the ACLP publication Psychosocial Care of Children in Hospitals: A Clinical Practice Manual. In 1984, he became the Director of the Child Life and Family Education Department at the Wyler Children’s Hospital (now Comer Children’s Hospital) of the University of Chicago, where he also held the position of Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. He joined the Wheelock College faculty in 1986, where he eventually became Chair of the Professional Studies department and then Dean of Child and Family Studies until his departure for The College of New Rochelle. Dick is the author or co-author of four books on child life and research issues, including Child Life in Hospitals: Theory and Practice (co-authored with Gene Stanford) and Psychosocial Research on Pediatric Hospitalization and Health Care, both of which are available through the ACLP Bookstore, and the forthcoming Handbook of Child Life. In addition, he has authored numerous publications and presented on topics including research, play, and other child life subjects. He held leadership roles in ACCH as a co-editor of Children’s Health Care, and in the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) as President from 1988 to 1990.
1995 - Joy S. Goldberger, M.S., CCLS
Joy Goldberger, the Child Life Education Coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, graduated cum laude with an AB degree from Vassar College in 1975, and a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1984. She worked as a teacher before beginning in the University of Maryland Hospital’s Child Life Program as an infant specialist. After joining the Johns Hopkins Child Life Department in 1978, she initially specialized with infants and toddlers, but also shared her clinical expertise with a wide age range in a variety of specialty clinics, the pediatric intensive care unit, and the hospital-wide Palliative Care Committee. Eventually, Joy held the positions of Senior Child Life Specialist and then Child Life Intern Training Coordinator. Joy was chosen as one of three child life specialists in the Child Life Research Project sponsored by the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) from 1985 to 1987. The goal was to assess the effects of preparation, education, and psychosocial support on hospitalized children and their families. This provided the foundation for the Association of Child Life Professionals publication Psychosocial Care of Children in Hospitals: A Clinical Practice Manual, of which she is a co-author. She has served as a university instructor and consultant, and in 1985 was selected as an Outstanding Young Woman in America. Joy has written several book chapters and has developed numerous publications and presentations on subjects including infant/toddler issues, psychological preparation, play and communication, and training of child life specialists. She has held leadership positions in ACCH on the Publications Committee for preparation, infants, and research, and in ACLP on the Education Committee.
1994 - Myrtha Perez, M.S. (deceased)
Myrtha was the founder and Director of Child Life at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, she lived in Paris and Munich before coming to Chicago in the 1960s. She was trained as a concert pianist and received a scholarship to attend the National Conservatory of Music at the University of Paris, where she earned a Master’s degree. Myrtha worked as the secretary for Jean Martinon while he was the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and she also volunteered with hearing impaired children. In 1969 she was named “Volunteer of the Year” by the City of Chicago. Myrtha developed the Child Life Program at Children’s out of the hospital’s long-standing play program. It was one of the first child life programs in the country to use performing and visual arts to support children in the hospital. Myrtha formed a multidisciplinary committee to help select and train professional artists about the needs of children with chronic and life threatening illnesses, and educated others about employing the arts in addition to play to support children in the hospital. She also promoted the use of pet therapy, poetry, laughter, and horticulture. Myrtha died in 1992, only months after leaving Children’s to accept a teaching position at Wheelock College.
1993 - Evelyn B. Hausslein, M.Ed.
Evelyn Hausslein, a 1960 graduate of Wellesley College, earned a master’s degree in Education from Tufts University in 1961. She first worked in child life at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia under then-director Mary Brooks. She then worked for four years at Children’s Hospital, Boston, where she attended the first meeting of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH). In 1973, Evelyn joined the faculty of Wheelock College where she taught and supervised students for 15 years. During her tenure she developed the graduate program in child life and became Dean of the graduate school. While at Wheelock, she earned a degree in management at the Heller School of Brandeis University. From 1989-1999, as an early childhood specialist at Boston’s Federation for Children with Special Needs, Evelyn was the project director for the Early Intervention Training Centers. In 2003, she became a Learning Coach for Special Quest and in 2007 she became the Project Manager for SUPPORTbrokers at the ARC of Massachusetts. She is the mother of three grown children, one of whom has a disability and lives in the community. Evelyn was active in ACCH and in the Association of Child Life Professionals, where she was involved in conference planning, served on the ACLP Board, and wrote, presented, and taught on topics including systems change, case management, policy making in special education, play and development, children of divorce, parent-professional collaboration, and grant writing. Evelyn received the Lexington Special Needs Parents Advisory Committee Award in 1994 and the Massachusetts Early Intervention, Department of Public Health named an award in her honor in 1999. She has been a mentor and an inspiration to many in the fields of child life, early intervention and special education.
1992 - Jerriann M. Wilson, M.Ed., CCLS
Jerriann Wilson, the longtime Child Life Department Director at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, received an AB degree from Goucher College in 1962 and a master’s degree in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore in 1972. She was employed in 1962 as a Child Life Teacher in the Child Life Department at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she worked with children ages two to twelve years, and also instructed student nurses in child development. In 1965, she began and directed the Child Life Program at the Baltimore City Hospitals (now Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center). Returning to Johns Hopkins in 1970 as the Associate Director of Child Life, she became Director in 1972. Jerriann, the author of several articles and book chapters, has given numerous presentations on subjects including administrative issues, working with volunteers, play and communication, and training of child life specialists. She had various leadership roles in the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH), including President from 1987 to 1989. Jerriann served as the first President of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) from 1982 to 1984, and later was a ACLP Program Reviewer. She acted as a liaison member to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Hospital Care from 1995-2005, first representing ACCH and then ACLP. After 43 years of child life work, she retired from Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2005 and continues to participate in ACLP professional activities.
1991 - Joan M. Chan, MSW, CCLS (deceased)
Joan Chan was the Founder and Director of Child Life at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York from 1973-1983, and then directed the program at Schneider Children’s Hospital of Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York from 1983-1988. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sydney (Australia) in 1954 and a Diploma of Social Studies in 1955. Studying on a Fulbright Fellowship, she earned a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. Before beginning her career in child life, Joan worked as a social worker and founded the Downstate Nursery School, a parent cooperative. She served on a Clinical Assistant Professorship at State University of New York Medical School and Adelphi University School of Nursing, and on the Graduate Adjunct Faculty at the Graduate School of Education at the Bank Street College of Education in New York. She was a ACLP Board Member-at-Large, and served in several other leadership roles, including co-authoring the Program Review Guidelines, serving on ACLP’s Education and Conference Planning Committees, and was instrumental in the development of the New York Metropolitan Child Life Director’s Group. Among many other topics, Joan has written and presented on administrative issues, family-oriented care, developmental needs of hospitalized children, and training for child life students, medical students and volunteers. During the 70s and 80s, she gave lectures in Europe, Australia, and China addressing the contributions of child life specialists as members of the health care team. She was awarded a Citation of Merit, Mayor of New York’s Volunteer Awards in 1976, and the Joan Chan Fellowship was established in her honor by the Children’s Medical Fund of New York in 1988. She retired in 1990.
1990 - Barbara-Jeanne "BJ" Seabury, M.A.
Barbara-Jeanne Seabury earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, and an honorary doctorate from Wheelock College. Early in her career, she taught kindergarten and preschool to for children with disabilities. In 1961 she was hired as the Recreation Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston, where she later became the Director of Children’s Activities Services and Volunteer Services. In 1976, she returned to her native Rhode Island to direct the new Child Life Program at Rhode Island Children’s Hospital in Providence, where she remained until her retirement in 1993. She held a faculty appointment at Brown University, and received the “Gene Stanford Power of One Award” in 1991. A former president of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH), BJ served in many other leadership roles during her career, working as the liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Hospital Care, and on the Editorial Advisory Committee for Children’s Health Care. In 1982 she was one of four ACCH members who were asked to explore creating an organization to replace the Child Life Task Force, which resulted in the establishment of the Association of Child Life Professionals. BJ led the planning of the Hasbro Children’s Hospital, using her expertise in healing environments for children. She also served on the boards of the Coalition for Children and Youth, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Junior League of Providence. She published and presented on a wide variety of subjects, including environment and design, and the politics and realities of caring within the healthcare system. After her death, Alan Hassenfeld, then-Chairman of Hasbro Toys, wrote an editorial in the Providence Journal extolling her work with and for children and families. BJ most wanted to be remembered as a teacher.
Gene Stanford, Ph.D.
Gene Stanford received a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in 1966 and completed his master’s and doctorate work in Guidance and Counseling at the University of Colorado in 1973. He worked in teacher education at Utica College of Syracuse University from 1973-1977. He received his training in child life from Wheelock College in Boston, and founded the Child Life Specialist Program at Utica College in 1977. From 1980-81, he was Director of the Child Life Department at Buffalo Children’s Hospital. From 1981-1990, he was Director of Human Services at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, overseeing all psychosocial services to children and families and working to transform the culture of the hospital. During his career, Gene wrote 26 books and more than 40 articles on mental health, education, counseling and child life. He co-authored Child Life in Hospitals: Theory and Practice with Richard Thompson. Gene was very active in the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH), and the organization established the Gene Stanford “Power-of One” award in his memory. He died in 1991.
Muriel Hirt (deceased)
Muriel Hirt, founder of the Child Life Program at Wheelock, was an active member of both academic and professional child life communities. She served in a variety of capacities in both the Association for the Care of Children in Hospitals (later the Association for the Care of Children’s Health), and the Association of Child Life Professionals. Of special note is her international work. She founded schools in India, and a child life program in England.
1989 - Ruth M. Snider (deceased)
Early in her career, Ruth Snider worked in children’s services, education, and health, supporting parents of preschoolers in community settings and child development programs in urban renewal areas. She also worked with the psychiatric division in the preschool center at the Child and Family Unit at Chedoke Hospital of McMaster University Medical Centre, where she focused on integrating children with special needs with healthy children. Ruth worked with medical students in community settings, giving them exposure to child-related issues. After being hired as director of McMaster’s one-person child life program, she developed the volunteer program, and by 1975 was able to increase the staff. Emma Plank was a consultant in the development of the department. In 1973, Ruth established the Child Life Studies diploma programme at McMaster University Medical Centre, the first child life academic program in Canada. She was the second President of the Association of Child Life Professionals, and a founding member of the Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders. In 1992 Ruth was honored with the ACCH Gene Stanford Power of One Award. She remained a member of the Department of Pediatrics within the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, and retired as Associate Clinical Professor in 1992. Ruth contributed a chapter, “The Therapeutic Use of Play in Helping Children Whose Lives Are Threatened” for the book Beyond the Innocence of Childhood, by Adams and Deveau, published in 1995.
Evelyn K. Oremland, Ph.D. (deceased)
Evelyn Oremland, PhD, founded the child life program at Mills College in Oakland, California, the first college-based program on the West Coast. In her twenty years at Mills College, she developed a graduate curriculum that helped to shape the child life profession. Through her tireless activities in the Association for the Care of Children's Health (ACCH), and her work as co-chair of the Educational Committee of the Association of Child Life Professionals, Evelyn played a key role in establishing the standards for the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential. Her published credits include: The Child Life Perspective: Meanings and Contexts; Protecting the Emotional Development of the Ill Child: The Essence of the Child Life Profession; and The Sexual and Gender Development of Young Children: The Role of the Educator. Evelyn is best remembered as a devoted and beloved teacher, and many graduates from her program now occupy senior child life administrative positions throughout the United States and in Europe.
Rosemary Bolig, Ph.D.
Rosemary Bolig received a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University in 1967. Inspired by an article she read about Mary Brooks’ program at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, Rosemary worked with her advisor to arrange an internship through Penn State with the child life program at Johns Hopkins. Accepted into the internship for the summer of 1967, instead Rosemary was hired for the position of preschool teacher on the surgical unit. She became supervisor and then director of the child life program at Johns Hopkins from 1970-1972. After leaving JHHU, she went to London and through the Save the Children Fund worked as a “play leader” at the Hospital for Sick Children. After completing graduate study at Penn State, Rosemary entered academia and the focus of her teaching, research, and service broadened to children under stress and early childhood education in a variety of contexts. At various times, she taught at Mount Vernon College, the University of the District of Columbia and Ohio State University, where she also earned a PhD in 1980. She continued her commitment to the rapidly developing child life profession by conducting ongoing research on play in child life, publishing many articles (almost all on play), and presenting at Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) conferences. Rosemary was also the guest editor for a 1988 special edition on play of Children’s Health Care. Her most recent contributions have been the publication of Meeting Children’s Psychosocial Needs Across the Healthcare Continuum (2005) with coauthors Judy Rollins and Carmel Mahan (available through the ACLP Bookstore) and a 2007 ACLP Annual Conference session on research in child life. Currently living and working in Washington, DC, Rosemary continues to be an active advocate of high quality programs for young children and their families.
1988 - Mary McLeod Brooks, M.S. (deceased)
Mary Brooks, founder of the Child Life Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and the Merrill Palmer Institute, and a master’s degree from Teacher’s College of Columbia University. She began her child life career at Boston Children’s Hospital after working in the field of early childhood education. In 1955, Mary joined the staff at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she expanded a volunteer-run play program into a comprehensive child life program that is still growing and innovating today. She was a founding member of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) in 1965, and chaired the organization’s international conference in 1967. She remained an active member of ACCH, serving as its historian for many years. Mary’s contributions to the field of children’s healthcare continued with the formation of the Association of Child Life Professionals, and she remained active in both organizations throughout her life. She participated in international study tours to China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and several Scandinavian countries. She authored a number of articles on the importance of play for hospitalized children, including a 1970 article, “Why Play in the Hospital?” published in Nursing Clinics of North America. Through her professional work, travel and publications, she influenced countless professionals caring for hospitalized children around the world.
Carole B. Klein, M.A.
Carole Klein, director of child life programs at Mt. Sinai, St. Luke’s, and Rainbow Babies & Children’s, earned her bachelor’s in Sociology and a master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University. Her early professional life was marked by her concern for children, particularly those who were ill and hospitalized. At the suggestion of Dr. Benjamin Spock, she contacted Emma Plank at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and was accepted as an intern in 1965. Following the internship, a focus of her work involved reducing or eliminating the severe trauma children experienced during cardiac catheterizations. Carole went on to direct a number of child life programs in Cleveland, including Mt. Sinai, St. Luke’s, and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s. She attended her first meeting of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) in 1969. In 1972, Carole became the first editor of the ACCH Journal, which evolved into the current publication, Children’s Health Care. As a director, Carole emphasized the importance of intellectual inquiry among child life staff members; The Hospitalized Child course, a continuing education opportunity she created at Rainbow Babies, is still a valued element of staff development there. During her tenure, the staff was encouraged to write materials to assist children and their families in managing the hospital experience, as well as to engage in research and share with professional colleagues. Carole resigned in 1985 and became the Director of Hospice Care of the Low Country in Hilton Head, South Carolina until 1998. Through her work with Hospice, Carole received the Mayor’s Citation for 1990 and 1996, as well as the Honorary Rotarian by the Rotary Club in 1994. Following retirement, Carole and her husband, Paul, settled in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Evelyn Hansbargar, Honorary Life Member of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH), was an employee of the Child Life and Education Department at the Metropolitan General Hospital in Cleveland in the 1970s. Initially, she had served as a volunteer for the 4th Annual ACCH conference held in Cleveland in 1968. Emma Plank, chair of the conference and Director of the Child Life and Education Department, was impressed with Evelyn’s enthusiasm and talent and hired her as a part time secretary for the department. When Mrs. Plank became President of ACCH, Evelyn assisted her and carried out many administrative functions as a part-time secretary for ACCH. Her work was important to the early functioning of ACCH. Her husband, Clark, a pediatrician, accepted a position with a family practice in Union, West Virginia and they moved there. Evelyn continued her work with ACCH and many early members remember mailing their membership forms and correspondence to a "Post Office Box H" in West Virginia. The Hansbargars are the parents of four children.
Kristine W. Angoff
For almost 40 years, Kristine Angoff was Director of the Play Program in the Child Psychiatry Department at the Floating Hospital (now the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts-New England Medical Center) in Boston. She started the playroom program in 1948 and served as its director until her retirement in 1984. The program began as diversionary and became an important therapeutic part of the hospital's care. Kristine observations contributed to several scientific articles with Dr. Veronica Tisza and focused on play and the hospitalized child. They were published in the journal Pediatrics and the Journal of the Academy of Child Psychiatry from the 1950s through the 1970s. Kristine died in 2003.
Emma Nuschi Plank, M.A.
Emma Nuschi Plank, in addition to being the Director of Child Life and Education Department at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital (then named Cleveland City Hospital) from 1955 to 1972, was also an author, a professor, and an activist. She was one of the six founders of the interdisciplinary Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) and was ACCH's second president. Originally from Austria, she was influenced in her work by Lili Peller of the Montessori movement and Anna Freud, a pioneer in the field of child psychology. She and her husband lived in Vienna (Austria), San Francisco, and Cleveland. She wrote a number of articles and authored, with the assistance of Marlene Ritchie, the groundbreaking book, Working with Children in Hospitals: A Guide for the Professional Team, in 1962. Nuschi was the first representative from ACCH representing child life to the Hospital Care Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics. At one point she was a delegate to the White House Conference on Children. She was married to Robert Plank, a psychiatric social worker and clinical supervisor in the Veteran’s Administration. She returned to Vienna to be near her brother and family after her husband’s death in 1983. In 1988 she received an honorary doctorate in Education from Wheelock College. Nuschi died in 1990 and is buried in Vienna.