2020 Child Life Virtual Conference

  • Registration Closed

The conference will include live keynote addresses and live and recorded professional development sessions from Wednesday, May 20 through Saturday, May 23. 

The Child Life Virtual Conference will offer attendees:

Live and recorded sessions available through ACLP's Online Learning Portal in all domains required for re certification.
The opportunity to earn 60+ PDUs.
An entire year's access to the conference content.
Several virtual sessions that incorporate discussion opportunities.
A promo code for 20% off in the online Child Life Store. (will be emailed to registrants in May)

  • 2020 Child Life Virtual Conference Opening Session with Keynote Speaker James Burroughs

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join us as we kick-off our 2020 Child Life Virtual Conference live!

    Join us as we kick-off our 2020 Child Life  Virtual Conference live!

    DOMAIN: Professional Responsibility/Ethics
    1 PDU

    James Burroughs

    James Burroughs is the chief equity and inclusion officer for Children's Minnesota. This is a newly created position at Children's, and is designed to help the nation's 7th largest pediatric health system advance equity and inclusion in all parts of the organization. This includes delivering equitable, quality care for patients and their families, fostering a culture of inclusion in which all employees can be their full selves and ensuring that community members from all walks of life feel like valued partners. 

    James' key focus areas include patient quality initiatives, employee recruitment and retention strategies, and organizational culture. His work also focuses on increasing 

    :financial investment and spend with diverse businesses and supporting initiatives that address the social determinants of health for patients and families. 
    James has more than 25 years of experience in the areas of nonprofit management, equity, diversity, inclusion, as well as employment law. He has an extensive background in developing workplace equity, diversity and inclusion training; creating policies and procedures that promote hiring and retention of employees of color; and forging robust partnerships with communities of color and other diverse demographics. 
    Most recently, he served in the Office of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, where he was the State of Minnesota's first chief inclusion officer. James began his career as an attorney, holding faculty roles at Hamline University's School of Law and the University of Minnesota's School of Law. He practiced law at the United States Office of the Federal Defender and Dorsey & Whitney LLP. He also has a background in education, holding leadership roles at Summit Academy as the chief operating officer and general counsel, as well as Minneapolis Public Schools as the executive director for the Office of Equity and Inclusion. 

  • Studio Interventions

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    DOMAIN: Intervention; 1.5 PDU's - Learn about Seacrest Studios' interventions at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

     Learn about Seacrest Studios' interventions at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

    DOMAIN: Intervention

    1.5 PDUs

  • 2020 Child Life Virtual Conference Keynote Presentation with Michelle Kim

    Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Identity, Power, and Privilege - The first step in understanding others is to truly know ourselves. In this keynote, you will have an opportunity to reflect on your own identities and how they have shaped your lived experiences and worldview

    Identity, Power, and Privilege

    The first step in understanding others is to truly know ourselves. In this keynote, you will have an opportunity to reflect on your own identities and how they have shaped your lived experiences and worldview. By turning our attention inward, we can reflect on the power we each hold to make a difference and commit to action. Join the session to continue your journey towards equity and inclusion. 

    Learning outcomes: 

    Understand the difference between social identity and personal identity
    Learn the relationship between privilege and marginalization
    Commit to one action you can take to advance equity and inclusion

    DOMAIN: Professional Responsibility/Ethics
    1.5 PDU

    Michelle Kim

    Michelle Kim (Pronouns: she/her) 
    Title: Co-Founder & CEO, Awaken 

    Michelle Kim is the Co-Founder and CEO of Awaken, a leading provider of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training programs that go beyond just “checking the box.” Michelle believes in creating compassionate space for uncomfortable conversations in order to build connections and inspire lasting change. Michelle has consulted hundreds of organizations on their diversity and inclusion strategy and education journey, working with top executives from Fortune 500 to tech giants to influence change. Michelle is a recognized thought leader and her work has appeared on world renowned platforms such as Forbes, The New York Times, and NPR, and she was named Medium’s Top Writer in Diversity. 

  • Advancing the Profession through Research: Non-Pharmacological Interventions Led by Child Life in Adult Cardiac Care

    Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    DOMAIN: Assessment; 1 PDU - ​Participants will learn about pioneering research led by child life in a large academic medical institution.

    Participants will learn about pioneering research led by child life in a large academic medical institution. Our feasibilty study with a dedicated child life specialist providing non-pharmacological interventions throughout the adult cardiac surgery experience has led to a clinical trial. The interdisciplinary study team raised the question: pediatric lessons learned could be integrated into adult cardiac surgery to individualized care reducing anxiety and pain and improve patience experience?

    Objectives:
    Identify scientific literature supporting the background and need for dedicated non-pharmacological interventions with adults through the integration of a child life role and adult surgical settings.
    Explore a clinical research design with interdisciplinary team members focused on scientific exploration of a non-pharmacological to adult cardiac surgery care.
    Articulate how to adapt/apply child life role and strategies to support adult patients.
    Consider ways to enhance adult health care disciplinary partnership and patient experience through research and clinical trial efforts.

    DOMAIN: Assessment; 1 PDU

  • An Exploration of Facility-Canine Assisted Therapy

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    The purpose of this study was to explore how facility-canine assistant therapy (FCAT) programs are being used in pediatric hospitals across the country, and to understand the experiences of CCLS' who are also FCAT handlers.

    The purpose of this study was to explore how facility-canine assistant therapy (FCAT) programs are being used in pediatric hospitals across the country, and to understand the experiences of CCLS' who are also FCAT handlers.

    Objectives:
    Demonstrate an understanding of facility-canine assistant therapy (FCAT) programs.
    Identify the research study design and analyses used for this study.
    Verbalize the responsibilities and challenges of a CCLS who is also a FCAT handler.

    DOMAIN: Intervention
    1 PDU

    Brittany Wittenberg

    Ph.D., CCLS, CFLE

    Brittany Wittenberg is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Louisiana State University and a Certified Child Life Specialist. Brittany completed her PhD, MA, and BS in Human Development and Family Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. From 2009–2016, Brittany practiced as a child life specialist in the Surgical Services Department at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin, Texas.

    Bailey Barnett Wetzel

    Co-presenting with An Exploration of Facility-Canine Assisted Therapy

  • Approaches to Assessment & Intervention at Child Advocacy Centers: Before and After the Onset of COVID-19

    Contains 5 Component(s), Includes Credits

    DOMAIN: Assessment; 1 PDU - Approaches to Assessment & Intervention at Child Advocacy Centers

    Approaches to Assessment & Intervention at Child Advocacy Centers: Before and After the Onset of COVID-19

    -Child abuse statistics
    -Community response to child abuse
    -Components of the Yale Child Abuse Clinic Evaluation
    -Social work & child life interventions
    -Interventions during COVID-19
    -Expanding the reach of services

    DOMAIN: Assessment; 1 PDU

  • Assessing our Assessment: Meeting Patient's Needs in an Evolving Healthcare System

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    ​In an evolving healthcare system, it is crucial that child life's approach to assessing patient and family needs also adapts.

    In an evolving healthcare system, it is crucial that child life's approach to assessing patient and family needs also adapts. To improve clinician's competence and confidence in conducting assessments, this session will incorporate the evidence on the risk factors known to be associated with elevated patient distress in healthcare. Evidenced-based assessment improves how child life communicates and advocates within the multidisciplinary team.

    Objectives:
    Participants will be able to identify opportunities for improvement at the end of treatment
    Participants will be able to identify strategies for implementation
    Participants will be able to create a developmentally appropriate questionnaire for all ages

    DOMAIN: Assessment
    1.5 PDUs

    Tommi Beth McHugh

    Tommi McHugh is the Educator and Program Coordinator for the Children's Hospital Colorado. Tommi began her child life career in 1989 at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She has worked as Educator at CHCO since 2016, and previously developed experience in a wide variety of inpatient areas, bereavement support, and hospice. Tommi is an adjunct instructor at Colorado State University

    Jennifer Staab

    Jennifer Staab is a certified child life specialist. Currently, Jennifer works at Children’s Hospital Colorado as a Manager and Research and Quality Improvement Specialist for the Child Life Department. She served as the chair of the Evidenced-Based Practice Committee for the Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP) (2011-2013), the Research and Scholarship Committee for the ACLP (2015-2016), and the Proposal Subcommittee for the ACLP’s Scientific Advancement of Professional Practice (2016-2018). Jennifer has given numerous professional presentations. She has presented at ACLP’s Annual Conference for Professional Issues (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, & 2019) and the Children’s Hospital Associations Annual Conference (2013 & 2018). Her research interests include identifying the factors associated with children experiencing elevated distress in a healthcare setting and evaluating the efficacy of child life services.

  • Bridging Research and Assessment: Techniques for Interviewing Pediatric Patients

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    DOMAIN: ​Assessment; 1.5 PDU's - Age-appropriate, play-based communication is a foundational and necessary skill for child life professionals working in a variety of medical and community settings.

    Age-appropriate, play-based communication is a foundational and necessary skill for child life professionals working in a variety of medical and community settings.  However, there are times in which preferred play materials and the gift of time are unavailable, leaving the clinician more reliant on dialogic interactions with children.  Recognizing these needs, this presentation will consider both overt and nuanced impacts of cognitive and social-emotional development on children’s capabilities and preferences for verbal communication – both of which greatly impact clinical assessment strategies and the design and conduct of research with young children.  Using examples from various interview-based research studies with hospitalized children, participants will explore developmentally appropriate considerations for conversationally assessing the development, thoughts, and experiences of pediatric patients.

    After this webinar, participants will have:

    • an understanding of the impact of cognitive and social-emotional development on children’s abilities to interpret questions, reflect on experiences, and articulate responses.
    • the ability to describe the similarities and differences between clinical assessment and empirical interviewing in pediatric populations.
    • an increased knowledge of age appropriate conversational techniques for learning more about the development, thoughts, and experiences of pediatric patients.

    DOMAIN: Assessment; 1.5 PDU's

    Jessika Boles

    PhD, CCLS

    Jessika Boles is a child life specialist in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  She has nearly ten years of clinical experience in addition to many years of academic and research training in applied child development, education, and psychology.  She has published work in various medical and psychosocial journals, and has presented at national and international conferences in child development, psychology, education, and child life.  In her spare time, Jessika teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to working with children and families in hospitals, and is currently serving as a director on the ACLP board of directors. 

  • Call to Action: Becoming an Abolitionist CCLS

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    As CCLS we are ethically bound to understand the history of racial oppression in America as well as interrogate whiteness and the connection to healthcare disparities. In so doing, we can take steps to disrupt and dismantle racist systems and strive to be abolitionist CCLS.

    Abolitionists [child life specialists] fight for children they will never meet or see because they are visionaries; (Love, 2020, pg 90). The current cultural climate makes it imperative to not only grow our knowledge and skills in racial consciousness but to be strategic and methodical in thought, communication, and action. By doing nothing we become part of the system that perpetuates racism. As CCLS we are ethically bound to understand the history of racial oppression in America as well as interrogate whiteness and the connection to healthcare disparities. In so doing, we can take steps to disrupt and dismantle racist systems and strive to be abolitionist CCLS. Child life specialists are in a unique position to affect the equity and quality of care that all children and families receive. By critically examining the ways patients and families of color experience healthcare environments through the strengths-based model of Community Cultural Wealth and the ethical lens of the 4 I's of Oppression (Ideological, Institutional, Interpersonal, and individual). CCLS can transform our practice to become co-conspirators, that amplify voices and promote agency of communities of color thus deeply affecting patient and family-centered care towards a more inclusive model.

    LOVE, B. E. T. T. I. N. A. (2020). We Want To Do More Than Survive: abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom. S.l.: BEACON.

    Objectives:
    Participants will learn about historical practices affecting patient care, medical decisions, and relationships between providers and recipients of health care.
    Participants will examine whiteness as a way to understand privilege and how one group benefits from the oppression of another.
    Participants will utilize the 17s of Oppression to consider ethical responsibility that deepens ones own knowledge of racial consciousness and implications for clinical practice.
    Participants will use theories of community cultural wealth to develop and consider a strengths-based model of child life practice.Participants learn what it means to be an abolitionist CCLS

    DOMAIN: Ethics
    2 PDUs

    Genevieve Lowry

    MS.Ed, CEIM, CCLS

    Genevieve Lowry began her career as a certified child life specialist working with children diagnosed with chronic and life threatening illness at a major New York Hospital. In 2007 she began a private practice working with families in the community facing a variety of challenges. These experiences and her online platform, The Convenient Classroom where is the co-creator of the Online Child Life Certification Test Preparation course as well as provides professional development to child life and creative arts therapists, led her to consider the work of the child life specialist beyond the hospital. Genevieve has worked at Bank Street College since 2004 as adjunct, Interim Director of the Child Life Program (2015-2016) and currently as Course Instructor and Fieldwork Advisor in the fully online Child Life Program. In these roles Genevieve demonstrates her belief that the philosophical tenets of child life can be applied to other settings and populations leading to innovative programming in communities and coursework at Bank Street. She is particularly interested in the intersection of social justice and health care as well as supporting child life students and professionals to be advocates for social justice. She writes, presents and provides consultation to a variety of organizations both locally and nationally and in 2013 she was recognized by Wheelock College as an alumni fulfilling the college’s mission and philosophy.

    Troy Pinkney-Ragsdale

    MA, CCLS

    Troy is a Certified Child Life Specialist for and has over 25 years of experience in the field of Child Life, including directing several child life programs in the tri-state area. She has served as the Director of the Child Life Masters Program at Bank Street College since 2004, and has taught the following courses: Child Development, Adolescent and Emerging Adulthood, Child Life in Health Care Settings, Children with Special Health Care Needs, and Child Life Administration.

    Troy has been an active member of the Association of Child Life Professionals and has held several leadership positions. Patient and Family Centered Care has been an integral part of her work with children, youth and their families for the last 30 years. She is committed to working with families. During her career, she has worked as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Therapist, Special Educator and as a Certified Child Life Specialist. Throughout her career she remains committed to and advocating for the diverse and unique needs of all patients and their family, supporting their growth and development.

    Rechelle Porter

    CFLC, LMSW, CCLS

    Director of Child Life Services
    New York Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital

    Rechelle D Porter, CCLS, LSW is the Director of Child Life Services and Creative Art Therapies at New York Presbyterian/ Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. She has been a Child Life Specialist for over 25 years in both inpatient pediatric general medicine and oncology units, Ambulatory Surgery and outpatient Hematology and Oncology. Hospital Liaison for Family Advisory Council,  and Internship Coordinator Rechelle has served ACLP Nominating committee, Education, and Training Committee.  She has presented on cultural competencies for child life specialist at regional conferences.  Facilitator for Zero Harm and Empathy training for New York Presbyterian. 


    Deborah Vilas

    MS, CCLS, LMSW

    Deborah Vilas, MS, CCLS, LMSW is a faculty advisor and instructor in the Child Life Program at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City, where she teaches graduate students 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. An author, consultant, blogger and international public speaker, Deborah has presented and taught in Australia, The Philippines, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Mexico, the Palestinian Territories, 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 89 countries.

  • Capturing our Worth: A Value Proposition Statement for the Child Life Profession

    Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits

    DOMAIN: Professional Responsibility; 1.5 PDU - ​Although well-supported by research, references to child life services are dispersed across publication outlets and formats.

    Although well-supported by research, references to child life services are dispersed across publication outlets and formats. This presentation describes the development of a comprehensive value proposition statement detailing the benefits of child life support for patients, families, and healthcare systems. Participants will explore key findings, identifying implications for future research and advocacy efforts in the child life profession.

    Objectives:
    Attendees will examine collaborative opportunities for ongoing research and advocacy efforts in the child life profession for students, professionals, academics and administrators.
    Attendees will explore and describe the process of developing an evidence-based statement to demonstrate the value of child life services.
    Attendees will review the key findings of the Association of Child Life Professionals Value Proposition Statement.

    DOMAIN: Professional Responsibility; 1.5 PDU

    Jessika Boles

    PhD, CCLS

    Dr. Jessika Boles, PhD, CCLS is a Child Life Team Lead in the pediatric critical care unit at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, a Master of Education in applied child studies from Vanderbilt University, and a doctorate in educational psychology (with certificate in qualitative research) from the University of Memphis. Her clinical experience spans more than ten years across hematology/oncology, adolescent/young adult, and critical care populations and settings. As a researcher, Jessika situates child development and educational processes in culturally charged and healthcare-focused learning environments such as the pediatric hospital, outpatient clinic, and family. Blending recognizable, critical, and post-qualitative methods with established developmental theories, her research specifically deconstructs the ways in which children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, as well as caregivers and healthcare providers, learn about and enact complex social concepts such as health/illness, life/death, and loss/legacy. In addition to her clinical work, Jessika teaches graduate courses in play-based approaches to family stress and coping, research trends and techniques in pediatric healthcare, research design, and applied developmental assessment at Vanderbilt University.

    Camille Fraser

    MS, CCLS

    Camille Fraser, MS, CCLS, CIMI is a Certified Child Life Specialist working with the cardiology population at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. Within this role, she works in the outpatient cardiology clinic, the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, and the cardiac step-down unit. She has been a child life specialist for five years and has also worked in acute care, and PRN roles. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in family relations from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Master of Science degree in child life from Bank Street College of Education in New York, New York. In addition to practicing child life, she is also an adjunct professor teaching child life courses at Lipscomb University.

    Ashlie Woodburn

    MEd, CCLS

    Ashlie Woodburn, MEd, CCLS, CIMI is a Certified Child Life Specialist working at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and serving the pediatric cardiology population. Ashlie has experience implementing a wide range of child life interventions that meet the needs of diverse patients and families across outpatient clinic, inpatient acute and critical care settings. Ashlie is particularly interested in meeting the developmental needs of infants with chronic medical conditions; Ashlie has completed certification as an infant massage instructor and has worked to implement a programs to increase the utilization of child life support during infant procedures and encourage developmentally appropriate sensory support in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit to better provide care to this population. Her academic training includes Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology and Family and Human Development from Arizona State University and a Master of Education degree in Child Studies from Vanderbilt University.

    Erin Munn

    CCLS

    Erin Munn, MS, CCLS is a Child Life Specialist 3 at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, with twenty-five years of experience as a Certified Child Life Specialist.  Since 2017, she has served as the child life specialist within a healthcare improvement initiative focused on improving care for women and newborns affected by the opioid crisis during their prenatal care, birth admission, and up to one year post-partum.  Prior to this position, Erin has served children and families across a wide range of inpatient and outpatient areas, including cardiology, critical care, presurgery, burn/trauma, and specialty clinics, first with the Child Life Department at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1995 to 2011, before joining Child Life Services at Vanderbilt in 2011.  Throughout her career, she has maintained a commitment to the professional development of child life students and staff, with highlights including her roles as a child life clinical specialist, interim staff supervisor, internship coordinator, and as co-chair of the Internship Task Force for the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) which developed standardized curriculum modules and a supervisor manual for child life internship programs. In addition to numerous presentations at conferences in the United States, Erin has been an invited speaker for conferences and education series in New Zealand, the Philippines, and in the Balkans.  During her time at Johns Hopkins, Erin helped to co-author a training curriculum titled Child-centered health care trainer manual: A 5-day inservice training course for pediatric health care workers and collaborated with fellow authors to pilot the training for healthcare providers at a pediatric hospital in Macedonia before implementing the training for representatives of 10 hospitals in Serbia.  Erin has been an active member of ACLP since 1995 and is a former President of the organization.  Additional highlights of her leadership within ACLP include serving as a Board liaison for the Clinical Supervision Task Force, as chairperson for the Conference Planning Committee and the Child Life Certifying Committee, and the Internship Task Force, and as an inaugural member of the Internship Accreditation Oversight Committee. 

    Maile Jones

    MEd, CIMI

    Vanderbilt University