Clown Doctors Help Heal with Humor
I have a deep admiration for the “labor of fun” the Big Apple Circus bring to healthcare facilities, children's groups, and communities across the nation.
Clown Care, the signature community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 16 leading pediatric facilities across the United States.
THE HEALING POWER OF HUMOR
Circus Co-Founder Michael Christensen created the program in 1986 based on his desire to provide a unique service to youngsters undergoing treatment in pediatric facilities. In partnership with a participating hospital's chief medical and administrative staff, members of the Clown Care team conduct 'clown rounds,' their own version of medical rounds, where the healing power of humor is always the prescription.
Currently, 80 committed and talented professional artists conduct clown rounds one to five days a week, year-round, making nearly 225,000 visits to young patients every year. Clown doctors are trained in specific hygienic practices and protocols and in special issues related to interacting with hospitalized children. Performers collaborate with doctors and staff to design a program that fits the needs of each hospital. They visit children in both inpatient and outpatient units, including intensive care, emergency room, physical therapy, bone marrow transplant, pediatric AIDS, and hematology/oncology.
"Ministering to sick children goes beyond medication and technology. When a child begins to laugh it means he's probably beginning to feel better. I see the clowns as healers." - Dr. John M. Driscoll Jr., former Chairman of the Pediatrics Department at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City