Brittany Wittenberg, MA, CCLS Child Life Specialist at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas
Brittany has been working as a Child Life Specialist for six years in the Surgical Services Department at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin, Texas. She currently manages the Child Life Department's 80 Apple devices. Our Child Life iPad Program began in 2011 when an anesthesiologist, Dr. Wayne Porter, purchased an iPad for the Child Life Specialists to use in day surgery. Brittany and Dr. Porter filmed a news segment on how iPads were used in the Surgical Services Department. After the news segment aired, the department received a grant from the Children's Medical Center Foundation in Austin, Texas. Several Child Life Specialists and one Music Therapist met weekly to discuss the implementation of a successful iPad program. We have encountered many challenges over the years, and have also overcome obstacles during the implementation and maintenance of our program. My hope is to share the successes of our program and the solutions to the challenges we faced (and continue to face) along the way.

News segment link: http://www.myfoxaustin.com/clip

Career Discovery: Brittany Wittenberg

Meghna H Chinnobaiah  Web Master

Meghna is a senior consultant for Bank Of America. Meghna is our Web Master and takes care of all of our web development needs for childlifetechnology.org 

Afshad Mistri  Apple's Healthcare market manager
As Apple's Healthcare market manager, Afshad guides our team, helping us gain insight on how to deploy iPads for child life specialists around the country. Afshad's guidance, as well as introductions to other helpful colleagues, has been invaluable in our quest to provide the best solutions for the child life teams we serve.

Sean (left) and Chris

Our child actors specializing in character voice overs for interactive games. They made their debut with the MRI app and we hope to find many more fun and helpful opportunities for them to help us with. 
When they are not helping all their friends around the world, Sean and Chris study hard in school and stay very active in basketball, karate, soccer and baseball.

Nicole Riccio
Nicole is responsible for the number crunching and statistical analysis behind projects where quantifying results over time prove valuable. For example, CLT is orchestrating the donation of hundreds of Android tablets. This program will provide ample opportunities to engage in experiments which are presently hampered due to debilitating concerns over theft and/or inability to remotely manage high volumes of mobile devices. Nicole’s analysis should quantify the efficacy of varying anti-theft techniques as well as provide creative suggestions in managing the inventory of mobile devices, installed applications and settings.

Brian Petix  Lead Technologist. 
A Director at Bank of America, Brian has over 10+ years volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House of NYC.  Brian is the lead technologist on several projects and initiatives

Lou Riccio Cofounder, Project Execution & Fund Raising.  

Professionally, a Director within Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s electronic trading technologydepartment, Lou has over 20 years experience volunteering and driving programs for children's charities, including the Ronald McDonald House of NYC where he received their most distinguished recognition for volunteers, the Hope Award. In 2011, he cofounded Child Life Technology with his son Michael (RPS Class of 2012) as a network of professional volunteers from technology and health care industries toward collaboration within a medical clinical setting.Working closely with many of the nation's leading hospitals and YAI, Child Life Technology has assisted in the introduction of inexpensive technology-based solutions toward better enabling child life teams to manage the fear and anxiety levels of patients and their families while also facilitating enhanced communications and patient education. Projects range from the creation of customized electronic desensitation materials through to adaptive design of common furniture, equipment and technology.A recent reference to why we partner with YAI, an organization responsible for the medical treatment and a wide range of social services for 20,000 people affected by Autism, development disabilities and mental illness: http://www.yai.org/about/sharing-our-stories/why-partnership-matters-to-me.html

lou.riccio@childlifetechnology.org 

Jane Shaffer, BS, CCLS ' Child Life Specialist I & Tablet/Technology Liaison at Children's Hospital of the Greenville Health System .
Jane double majored to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development from Vanderbilt University in 1997. At Levine Children's Hospital (affiliated with Carolinas Medical Center) in Charlotte, NC she completed her internship Summer in 2010. Jane's internship project, developing a mobile recording studio for pediatric patients' use, launched her love and appreciation of technological applications in the hospital setting as well as provided her first experience with the challenges of conceptualizing and implementing a tool that requires collaboration with other departments. In March 2011, she began working full time at Greenville Health System(GHS) in Radiology. Jane has been serving as Tablet/Technology Liaison upon the iPad's arrival in GHS' child life department. Fall 2013 this role will expand with the arrival of Google Glass.
jshaffer@ghs.org

Luis L. Borges BFA is the Technology Coordinator for the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at The Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital in New York. 
He is an IT professional with a background in art therapy and over fifteen years' experience working in a hospital setting with child life specialists, creative arts therapists, and their pediatric patients and families. He has presented at both national and regional conferences on the integration of patient centered technology into pediatric settings. Lu consults with child Life practitioners and departments on the appropriate use of technology and the related education of staff members. He runs open online communities encouraging tech competency for child life specialists and creative arts therapists. Lu's special interest lies in the convergence of technology, patient and family care, creativity, and education.Lu's special interest lies in the convergence of technology, patient and family care, creativity, and education. He has presented on these subjects at numerous conferences and webinars.

luis.borges@mountsinai.org​

Kia Beickert  Child Life Director at NorthShore Evanston Hospital 
Kia has over 5 years of experience in the child life field, advisor and presenter for numerous hospitals and technology summits nationwide on the implementation of iPad and virtual patient education programs as well as published articles and presentations on this subject in Chicago Special Parent Magazine, Care Magazine, and Mayo Clinic Health Care Summit for Social Media.
kiabeickert@gmail.com

Despite the best laid plans, so many of the major outcomes and consequences in life, both good and bad, reflect as much the randomness of fortune as our intentions. And to those unfortunate enough to lose the lottery of disease or other affliction, witness the cascading of bad into worse in virtually every facet of their life. A complete free fall... physical, spiritual, economic and social free fall. While I can never understand how a higher being could so afflict children, I can at least recognize His Grace in providing the optimistic child life professionals courageous enough to meet children at the crash and guide them home.In all my years, travels, professional relationships and friendships, I have never met anyone quite like the dozens of child life professionals I have had the good fortune to have met this past year in our journey to close the technical divide between what presently exists in practice and what is possible to jointly give to our children. These most special child life specialists are the closest I have ever known to being the adult we envisioned and hoped to become back when we were seven years old. Despite unimaginable circumstances, you see beauty, provide compassion, just listen, and raise hope in the most desperate of times.Somewhere, somehow, amid the noise of the day, the rest of us lose the optimism to stop and sing or stare in appreciation at a butterfly floating across a sunny May day. We compromise, rationalize and get by counting that which doesn't really much count. But, hey, it's a living, I suppose.This is not meant to be a religious message, as I am not as religious now as I was back then. It is more intended to share an experience which comes to mind. When I was seven, I heard the Nativity story for the first time. For those unfamiliar, Joseph, a common carpenter and his pregnant wife, Mary, travel across the desert for several days to reach a distant town. She on the back of a mule and he walking beside her all the way. As the weary pair reached the town at nightfall, the story goes, they knocked on the door of an inn. Unsympathetically, the inn keeper uttered the now clich' 'there is no room at the inn' and proceeded to usher the pair into the stable out back where Mary would settle in and deliver the baby Jesus amid the animals. As seven year olds may take things quite literally, I recall sitting back in my second grade chair at Our Lady of Angels grammar school in Brooklyn and thinking two thoughts: 'imagine going down in history as that guy?', and more regretting, 'if only Mary and Joseph had come to Brooklyn, come to our door on 72nd Street, I would have given them my bed to stay'. Funny looking back now, but a seven year old's emotions can make play in juxtaposing time, space and gospel.As I mentioned, I am not a religious person. Shedding religion is a tough road because by denying divine inspiration; you are forced to seek out your inspiration here on Earth. And that is what I see in Laura, in Kia, John, and Chris, and these other optimistic and courageous souls who deny all the chaos and suffering around them and just see flowers on the wall. And where there is only a wall, you make flowers for the wall. And you can bring smiles to barren faces. And in our boring, but blessed, routines, insulated from this alternative reality you see, it is very helpful for my fortunate friends volunteering in this work to catch a glimpse for themselves, to learn, and to act. Who among us cannot learn something by looking through a child's eyes? Having never been seriously ill myself, I, too, am none-the-less, a survivor. At fourteen, my closest friend was stricken with cancer and for five years we rode the roller coaster together. That was 30-something years ago, but it gives me a strong understanding of how child life could have helped had it existed for us. My memory still retains good recall of some exhilaratingly high times and I don't really remember much of the bad. But, the constriction in my stomach, as I am feeling again right now, always comes from recalling the overwhelming feeling of complete lack of control at the mercy of the randomness of the whole experience. Good became bad immediately and then a sudden worse made bad seem like the good ol' days. And the only respite was spent in recovery, catching our breath and waiting... I lost my best friend to some multisyllabic diagnosis for which, as kids in Brooklyn, we used four letter words to understand. The loss culminated a five year battle in which I played child lifer as best I could. So, I know your frustration and I know your optimism. So, together, let's let the former fuel some constructive outlet for the latter. I have spent the last 20 years being a supporter of the Ronald McDonald House of NYC. Getting close to the families of pediatric cancer patients has reinforced my understanding of the experience the entire family goes through. And I think back on how my friend, was my best friend, but not my son, and I hope to never learn the difference. And now that I can do something about it, even some relatively little thing, gaining control is good therapy. You don't need to cure cancer to make a difference. You don't need to be diagnosed yourself to be affected. And Italian guys from Brooklyn never let go of a grudge, not even against some invisible foe. My child life friends, you speak for thousands of children with no voice; you must scream for them. And if you are not comfortable screaming, you must whisper it to us and allow us to do the screaming. We are good at that. We fail any time you let go of a child's hand so that you may do some secondary task. So, when you feel your grip start to loosen, you must scream at us. People seem very surprised I would post my cell phone number for over 5,000 members. And those who call are worried the call may be inconvenient once they realize. But when someone from child life calls, I see Mary and Joseph on their journey of sacrifice to bring joy and hope, and I will never show you the stable. Not this seven year old nor his valued friends listed on the page.

Thank you for all you do for the world's children and never hesitate to ask for a hand if we can help you make things better.

-Lou 

Holly Riccio Cofounder, Creative Director.
As a full-time high school student, Holly started her involvement through contributing voice overs for interactive gaming effects added to our MRI electronic prepbook. Holly has created over 20 electronic prep books for some of our nation’s leading hospitals and is now learning iBooks Author on the Mac so that she may start creating more engaging psychological preps featuring multimedia and other interactive elements. Holly enjoys combining her artistic capabilities and youthful perspective within her work. Previously, Holly has served as a member of the Ronald McDonald House of NYC's junior leadership committee after several years of involvement there.

Click here to see Holly discuss the use of technology with a Child Life specialist at Johns Hopkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExhBFV8hJ5U

Christina Patron - Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center’s NICU
Aspiring to develop a career that serves families and children, Christina’s first project with Child Life Technology collaborated with the NICU nursing department and child life specialists at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.  She designed an iBook through Apple that incorporates interactive animation using the “teach back method," allowing parents to not only remember the complete steps on how to take care of their child—ranging from hygiene practices to car safety tips—but is also presented to them in a more fun and interesting way.  Christina currently works as a Research Assistant in the NICU working on various studies, most of them with a specific focus on families’ pastoral care experiences. She is always interested in learning new ways to integrate her love for writing with her interests in health care.  Christina will graduate in May 2015 from Loyola University Maryland with a degree in Biology/Writing.  To keep up with her or to read some things she’s recently written, visit Christina’s professional website: http://www.christinapatron.com

high school and college student volunteers

Joel Russell President and CEO of the eImagine Technology Group
 eImagine Technology Group, a full-service IT solutions provider using technology as the tool to help solve clients' business problems for over 15 years. eImagine has the distinction of producing the gold standard of interactive preparation tools, the Riley Child Life Program. Riley Child Life Tour is designed to help children learn about an upcoming medical procedure and correct misconceptions they may have by using interactive maps, panoramas, photos, videos and sounds. Under the guidance of a Child Life Specialist, children can use Riley Child Life Tour to explore the settings, people and equipment they encounter during hospitalization as a way to minimize the stress and anxiety children often experience in a hospital setting. In collaboration with child life specialists, Joel is leading his team toward developing the AFIT application which represents the next generation of interactive software designed to help guide children and families through the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Karen Riccio  Former Director of the American Diabetes Association, NYC Chapter.
Karen brings her health care experience to the team. She assists in coordination of fund raising events, Child Life Technology administrative activities and will start working on the generation of customized electronic prepbooks. Karen is also in the process of volunteering at a local hospital in NJ as a means of working more closely with child life in the field.

Chris Flood 
Chris has spent 18+ years in the child life profession, serving as a child life specialist in the PICU and as coordinator of department. Developed and implemented mobile technology in the PICU to prepare patients and families for procedures. Also provided staff training and program implementation with departmental staff. Chris has presented at numerous conferences on a variety of challenges confronting patients and child life professionals. Her most significant contributions to Child Life Technology is her ability to 'ground' all our technology aspirations into something more relevant and comfortable for specialists in the field. 

Michael Riccio  Cofounder, Administration, Support and Projects.  
A student at University of North Carolina, Michael has over 5+ years as a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of NYC on special events. Mike has spent three summers as a counselor at the RMDH summer camp program and has been developing electronic prepbooks for child life specialists. 

Paul Fagan  Project Management.  
A technology project manager, Paul has over 10+ years volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House of NYC.  As PMO lead, Paul has managed up to 40+ projects and initiatives

Amanda Moatz, MEd, CCLS.

Amanda is leading our “collective genius of child life” initiative which is a working partnership between over a dozen child life specialists, Child Life Technology and I Get It! Apps. Our objective is to produce an electronic library of up to 100 procedure preparation books which are each expressed in language and pictures appropriate for varying cognitive capabilities (preschool age, school age, teenage, and for patients with developmental disabilities) as well as translated into several common languages .Amanda has been certified as a child life specialist since November 2004. Since then she has had the privilege to work at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital and Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Amanda presented on child life services in outpatient settings at the CLC 31st Annual Conference on Professional Issues and currently serves as chair of the CLC Evidence-Based Practice Committee of which she has been a member since 2011. Amanda is thrilled about all of the opportunities for technology to enhance the services the child life community provides to patients and families. 

Susan Taylor, MS, CCLS Certified Child Life Specialist , Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth
Susan has been working as a child life specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon, NH for three years. Prior to this, she graduated from Bank Street College’s child life program. She currently works on the inpatient pediatric unit and has past experience in CHaD’s Pain Free sedation unit. Susan is looking forward to further integrating technology into child life practice at CHaD. She is currently developing a system for loaner and therapeutic iPads and driving the creation of electronic preparation materials.

Below page highlights some recognition the Child Life Technology network of volunteers has received while helping the community.

http://childlifetechnology.wikispaces.com/Honorable+Mention

Jesse Flood
A full-time student, Jesse has joined the team to assist child life specialists in designing and delivering electronic prepbooks customized for their respective practice. We are presently working on a format for one- and two-day continuing education workshops for a NYC college. As part of this program, Jesse will be a lead support resource in helping the workshop attendees after they return to work and develop their own electronic prepbooks.

Matt Ray, MCSD
The Mobile Practice Lead at eImagine, Matt is the creative mind behind “Nancy’s Magical Treasure Hunt” and the "Wellness App" for journaling chronic care from the patient perspective.  Matt’s unquestionable technical and development skills are dwarfed by his caring heart. A great friend of child life specialists and the children in their care, Matt always puts a positive spin on any project he leads. Perhaps Matt’s greatest skill is showing us all how developing software should be more creative and fun than technical.​

mray@thinkETG.com