Flip Side of the Chart

A Big Apple Circus Workshop Reinforces Patient Relations Skills through Humor and Play

The Flip Side of the Chart is founded on ideas that bring play, humor, and lightheartedness to the work environment and to caregiving relationships.

In 1986, Michael Christensen, co-founder of the Big Apple Circus, created Clown Care to bring the joy and healing power of the classical circus to hospitalized children. Today, Clown Care’s “doctors of delight” visit the bedsides of hospitalized children in leading pediatric facilities nationwide, including hospitals in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New Haven, New York City, Providence, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Clown Care has been a part of  NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem's for more than 20 years.

Along the way, Christensen realized hospital staff wanted to learn the strategies used by hospital clowns to better communicate with patients, families, and other health professionals. Thus began Flip Side of the Chart (FSOTC).

FSOTC is an interactive workshop that helps healthcare professionals develop sensitive observational tools needed to nurture positive patient and colleague relationships, improve patient compliance, and increase their own ability to manage stress. While the jobs of performers and healthcare professionals are different, the communications skills to fulfill those jobs are very much the same.

Successful hospital clowns have the ability to rapidly read audiences and assess environments, respond to subtle physical and emotional cues, create genuine contact, and give patients, parents and staff the feeling that they are there specifically for them. In short, the key is to be what Christensen calls “totally present.” These skills translate directly to the medicine.

The Fund has secured funding for a limited FSOTC pilot at one NYC Health + Hospitals  facility and plans to begin the program in late 2012/early 2013. The Fund is actively seeking support for expansion of the program so that it is available to staff across NYC Health + Hospitals .

Read more about the "Flip Side of the Chart" here.

The Fund Internal Grant (FIG) Program

This corporate-wide, internal grant program offers support for eligible programs and initiatives.  The Fund's grants can help more of NYC Health + Hospitals' innovative ideas become a reality.

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