A community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, The Big Apple Circus Clown CareSM program serves hospitalized children in 18 pediatric facilities nationwide, including Hopkins Children’s. Clown Care “doctors” help incorporate some comic relief and silliness into the lives of pediatric patients. Working in close association with Child Life specialists, the clowns sometimes partner with clinical and hospital staff not only to relieve children’s sadness, anxiety and isolation, but even pain, by diverting attention during medical procedures. Co-founder of the Big Apple Circus Michael Christenson created the Clown Care program in 1986 after losing a brother to cancer. Over 80 of these non-traditional “docs” today perform at 18 pediatric medical centers nationwide.
In their European-style of "less clown makeup is more," Hopkins’ clowns visit children throughout the hospital, from the pediatric emergency room to pre- and post-op surgery suites, and even the outpatient clinics. Led by William “Dr. Boots” Boots, Hopkins’ team visits patients three days a week. When they’re not making rounds, they might be conducting their monthly “Clown Care TV” show on Hopkins Children’s TV, Channel 60.