Alumnae Make a Difference at the Joslin Diabetes Center

{0 Comments}

Child life specialists Micaela Francis ’09/’12MS and Jennifer “Jen” Griffin ’10MS make a difference at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston in the Pediatric
Micaela Francis ’09/’12MS

Child life specialists Micaela Francis ’09/’12MS and Jennifer “Jen” Griffin ’10MS make a difference at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston in the Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult wards. Child life specialists are child development professionals who specialize in supporting children, adolescents, and their families through illness, injury, and other health care experiences. At the center, Micaela and Jen can be found in the playroom helping patients and siblings better understand and cope with diabetes through play. They encourage children to express their feelings using medical play as they become more familiar and comfortable with medical equipment and supplies. They also facilitate educational activities to enhance children’s knowledge of diabetes and general health through games and crafts.


Child life specialists are child development professionals who specialize in supporting children, adolescents, and their families through illness, injury, and other health care experiences.

Child life specialists Micaela Francis ’09/’12MS and Jennifer “Jen” Griffin ’10MS make a difference at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston in the Pediatric
Jennifer Griffin ’10MS

Micaela and Jen also support patients in the pediatric lab, whether they are receiving a finger prick or a blood draw from the arm. They help prepare patients for different procedures by explaining to them what they can expect to see, hear, and feel. Procedures other than lab work could include a flu shot, pump site insertion, Continuous Glucose Monitor insertion, or a physical exam, all of which might cause children anxiety. During procedures, Micaela and Jen help children practice coping strategies, such as deep breathing or comfort positions. They also provide distraction techniques, including I Spy books or bubbles, to help make the procedures less stressful.

In addition to their clinical work, Micaela and Jen plan events throughout the year for the pediatric patients. Each spring, the patients of the Joslin Diabetes Center and their favorite stuffed animals are invited to a Teddy Bear Clinic. The bears and other stuffed animals explore health care experiences to learn about healthy habits and diabetes basics. This is an opportunity for children to take their stuffed animals through all the different phases of a medical appointment they might experience, from having their height and weight measured to getting pretend blood work done. Children are also able to tour the Center’s Eye Institute with their bears, learn more about exercise and nutrition, play games, and make crafts.

Learn more about Wheelock College’s Child Life and Family Studies Dual Degree Program.