Center for Digital Health

CDH Seminar 2/9: "Project Sunshine’s TelePlay: Creating peer-to-peer connections and reducing anxiety through play"

Promotional image for the CDH Seminar with Project Sunshine on Feb 9 2022

Project Sunshine is a 20+ year old international nonprofit that harnesses the healing power of play to serve children undergoing serious medical challenges. Before COVID, Project Sunshine’s trained volunteers would go into hospitals to engage children in collaborative games, imaginative crafts and activities to promote relaxation and mindfulness. In response to volunteer restrictions at hospitals beginning in March 2020, Project Sunshine developed a new program delivery method, TelePlay. TelePlay connects children and families through our trained volunteers, via a HIPPA-compliant Zoom platform. This new program has allowed Project Sunshine to reach new populations of children and families and has provided an opportunity to measure the health outcomes of our programs for the first time. Preliminary results show a reduction in anxiety for the participants involved and over the course of the next year we’re looking to demonstrate that TelePlay programming is effective in reaching this desired outcome.

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Speaker Bios

Portrait of Dr. Bernard RosofDr. Bernard Rosof is a proud supporter and board member of Project Sunshine for over 15 years and is the chair of the organization’s Program Committee. Dr. Rosof is a leader of national healthcare initiatives in the areas of quality and performance improvement. Dr. Rosof practiced Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology in Huntington, New York, for almost 30 years, after which he became a Chair of the Board of Directors of Huntington Hospital (Northwell Health) and is currently a member of the Board of Overseers of the Northwell Health System. Dr. Rosof was also Chair of the Physician Advisory Committee for UnitedHealth Group, and he has chaired committees for the New York State Department of Health and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Dr. Rosof continues to educate aspiring professionals as a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and a Master of the American College of Physicians.

Portrait of Whitney Namm PollackWhitney Namm Pollack has been the Executive Director of Project Sunshine, an international nonprofit, since 2018. Whitney has been driving strategic, financial and programmatic growth at mission-driven organizations for nearly 25 years. She is a native New Yorker who built her career at the Robin Hood Foundation, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, University of Pennsylvania and 92nd Street Y.

While at Project Sunshine Whitney has increased revenue by 26% and doubled the organization’s reserve fund. She led the organization, which provides play and activities for hospitalized children, through a pandemic pivot. In 2020, Project Sunshine reinvented how it delivers services and developed a new programmatic pillar that brings volunteer-led play to children at hospitals and those coping at home.

Before coming to Project Sunshine, she served as Interim Executive Director for EB Research Partnership, a national medical venture philanthropy. After completing this leadership role she joined their Board of Directors in 2018. She received her BA and MA from Penn and has been a member of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women since 2007.

Portrait of Meg KellettMeg Kellett is the Director of Pediatric Experience at Project Sunshine and oversees the organization’s national programs, medical facility and nonprofit partnerships. Meg’s passion for pediatrics led her to pursue a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist, supporting patients and families both in and out of the hospital setting for over a decade at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center, and The Red Cross War Memorial Hospital.

Meg brings her child development expertise and clinical knowledge to oversee all aspects of the child and family experience through PS services to provide meaningful play connections to children and teens across the nation.

 

Portrait of Kyra HuKyra Hu is a Program Coordinator on the Pediatric Experience Team at Project Sunshine, supporting the delivery and management of their programs including TelePlay, Sending Sunshine and In-person volunteering. By managing hospital relationships, overseeing program innovations, and leading special events, Kyra is part of both the development and execution of Project Sunshine’s programming. Kyra graduated from Brown University in 2021 and is excited to participate in this presentation at her alma mater.