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Child Life

At UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, a dedicated team of Child Life professionals work in collaboration with the entire health care system to support a positive patient/ family experience and to minimize the stress and anxiety associated with hospital visits. Primary services include the provision of age-appropriate education about diagnoses and medical procedures, emotional support and promotion of effective coping techniques, and the delivery of therapeutic play and creative arts activities to facilitate expression and positive adjustment. Child Life staff work closely with Volunteer Services, UF and other community organizations to coordinate special entertainment events and maintain an active playroom program.

Arts in Medicine

UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine is one of the largest comprehensive arts in health care programs in existence. Programs are designed to transform the hospital experience for patients, visitors, caregivers and staff. They focus on visual arts, literary arts, performing arts and integrative medicine, as well as design and aesthetics. While Arts in Medicine’s main focus has been applying the arts to patient care, there is also a commitment to developing other aspects of the program, including, education, research and collaborations.


The UF Health Shands Streetlight Program is a free adolescent and young adult support program for people, ages 13-25, living with cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, organ diseases and other chronic or life-limiting illnesses. Medicine can do a lot, but there are some issues that medicine does not treat. The way we see it, sometimes a friend can be the most powerful source of support. The Streetlight team includes more than 60 college-aged volunteers who focus on building friendships through peer companionship. Dealing with a serious medical condition is a difficult journey, but Streetlight believes no one needs to go through it alone.

Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program

Cancer is the most common cause of death in adolescents and young adults (AYAs), ages 15-39 years, with approximately 80,000 individuals within this demographic being diagnosed annually. The UF Health AYA Cancer Program addresses the compelling and unique medical and psychosocial needs of our adolescent and young adult patients — from diagnosis to survivorship. This includes needs such as fertility preservation counseling, age-appropriate distress screening, psychosocial support, career/vocational resources, family-building options in survivorship, increasing access to clinical trial participation and multidisciplinary care. With this support, the UF Health AYA Cancer Program hopes to help break down the barriers to effective treatment commonly experienced by this distinct population, giving each person the best chance at beating his or her disease.

Social Work

UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital social workers offer a variety of services to pediatric patients and their families. They are available to discuss concerns, provide support and explore solutions. Our social workers also offer individual, family and group counseling, problem solving, stress management and crisis intervention services.