Current Environment:

Child life specialists work to enhance patients’ emotional, social, and cognitive growth during a hospital visit, taking into consideration each child’s family, culture, and developmental needs. They use developmental interventions and play to help patients and families adjust to and understand their health care experiences. For more information about child life specialists, visit the Association for Child Life Professionals.

Child Life specialists:

  • promote patients’ development by normalizing daily routines, activities, and environment
  • educate and prepare patients and families about the healthcare experience in an approach that meets their individual needs
  • provide individualized support to siblings of hospitalized children
  • encourage developmentally appropriate activities and play
  • help patients enhance their coping skills when dealing with fear, pain, anxiety, and separation from family, friends, and their familiar environments
  • provide consultation to healthcare team and supports families regarding patients’ developmental and psychosocial issues
  • provide individualized support before, during, and after medical procedures
  • facilitate medical play in individual and group settings
  • promote family centered care by offering information, advocacy, and guidance
  • educate hospital staff about child development and related issues
  • initiate tutoring support for patients missing school due to hospitalization
  • support celebrations of milestones including birthdays and holidays
  • supervise and train student interns and volunteers

Watch: What is Child Life?

Meet the team

Management team
Inpatient units

6 Northeast - Inpatient Oncology

6 West - Stem Cell Transplant

6 - Inpatient Oncology

7 West - Medicine Patient Service

Katie Yochim

9 East - Medicine Patient Services

Open position

9 East - Behavioral Health/Medicine

Open position

8 Mandell - Medicine

Open position

9 South - Inpatient Medicine/Intermediate Care Program

11 Hale Neonatal Intensive Care

Clinics and outpatient areas

6 South - Cardiac Catheterization Lab/Cardiac/Cardiac Pre-Op

Brookline Place


Michelle Dean-Onabajo, MS, CCLS
Elena Sanchez de Varona

Children's Hospital Primary Care Center

Elena Sanchez de Varona
Addie Rosenstock, MS, CCLS **

GI Clinic and GI Procedure Unit

Nuclear Medicine

Radiology - Fluoroscopy

Radiology - MRI

Additional staffing

Trust and Special Events

Volunteer Services

Hale Family Center for Families

Hale Family Center for Families/Pawprints

Lynn Belkin, MS, CCLS
Open position

Child Life Specialist-Seacrest Studios

Simulator Program (SIMPeds)

Patient Tech Specialists

Ryan McAskill
Open position

Per Diem Child Life Support Staff

Kelly Carey
Jenna Iacobucci
Nina Lira
Cydnee Szumierz
Samantha Gentle
Sonja Jensen
Elizabeth Kelly



Jessica Cerullo, MS, CCLS

Martha Eliot Early Intervention

Open position

Waltham Surgery