Janessa earned her Bachelor of Science in Human and Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Life from The University of Alabama in 2018. Janessa started working as a CCLS at Texas Children’s Hospital the Woodlands in February 2019 in the Emergency Department. In 2020, Janessa accepted a position in a one-person program in an adult level-one trauma and burn center at Medical City Plano. In 2021, Janessa accepted her dream position as a child life specialist facility dog handler at CHOC in the Cherese Mari Laulhere Mental Health Inpatient Center where she currently works.
In 2013, after completing the MS Child Life Program at Loma LindaUniversity, receiving Child Life certification, Colleen acted on the prompts of her advisor and professor to venture into private practice and opened PlayWell Child Life Services. For the past 10 years, with much effort and continued learning, PlayWell has supported those 2-24 years old for medical teaching, palliative support, hospice, end of life and bereavement in a variety of community settings. She has been involved in state and national groups engaging legislative, local government and commercial providers in making progressive changes to protocol affecting children.
Natalie is the Certified Child Life Specialist and volunteer coordinator at Shriners Children’s Southern California, previously Shriners for Children Medical Center. She is also currently a part-time lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles for the Child and Family Studies department and California State University, Northridge in the department of Child and Adolescent development.
Lisa is a certified Child Life Specialist at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Over her 19 years in the field, she has worked with a variety of patient populations including ER, PICU, hematology/oncology, pre-op/PACU and adult palliative care and has supervised over 20 child life students. She is passionate about pediatric non-pharmacologic pain management, the role of the “growth vs fixed mindset” as it affects children’s coping, and healthy communication and conflict resolution as professionals.
Linda has been a Certified Child Life Specialist for more than 25 years with extensive clinical practice working with chronically ill, injured, and suspected child abuse and neglect children and families. Linda worked at UCLA Medical Center, Child Life Director at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and currently practicing at the Grossman Burn Center. Her clinical private practice has extended to the community providing trauma-grief support to victims of fatal family violence. Since graduating from Pacific Oaks College Linda has dedicated her career to advocate and address children’s grief and loss through her clinical practice and academic education. Linda is a specialized trainer on Grief and Loss training for Dept. of Mental Health and an Adjunct Professor at Azusa Pacific University teaching in the master’s program for those pursuing a degree in Child Life/Psychology. Co-Founder and President of the California Association for Child Life Professionals. She devotes her spare time playing with her 3-year-old grandson.
Amber obtained her M.S. in Child Life from Azusa Pacific University in July 2020 and began working at CHOC as a per diem CCLS in May 2021. Amber accepted a full-time position in the Mental Health Inpatient Center at CHOC in October 2021. Janessa and Amber work on the same team at CHOC in the Cherese Mari Laulhere Mental Health Inpatient Center to support and provide child life services to pediatric mental health patients and families.
Kathryn is a Certified Child Life Specialist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Play Therapist, Supervisor. She started the child life program at UC San Diego Health in 2009 and grew it from a Burn Unit based service to a hospital wide program caring for children and adults across two campuses. She is an adjunct professor of psychology and child life and currently completing her dissertation for her PhD in Counseling with a trauma and crisis emphasis. When she isn’t teaching or working at the hospital, she runs a small private therapy practice seeing children, adults and couples working through trauma and loss.
Victoria is a Certified Child Life Specialist and Practicum Coordinator serving the trauma, burn, and palliative care populations at UC San Diego Health. Her educational background includes a Master of Science degree in Child Life Specialist from Loma Linda University, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in the Social Service Track, and an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Social and Behavioral Science. Her clinical experience spans over more than seven years across the behavioral health, critical care, and palliative care/end of life, young adult/adult, and trauma and burn settings.
Carissa has been a child life specialist for 19 years. She’s developed new programs and been a part of the child life team at a large children’s hospital. Carissa spent 9 years in a level-1 pediatric trauma center and spent several years doing pediatric palliative care as well. Carissa currently teaches full-time at APU.
Hannah is an Assistant Professor in the MS in Child Life program at Azusa Pacific University. Hannah has worked in a variety of hospital settings and has supervised over 50 child life practicum and internship students. Hannah is currently completing her Ph.D. in higher education and studying pathways to success for online learners, in addition to her clinical research.
Sonia attended Cal State University of Los Angeles and received her bachelor’s degree in Child Development with a specialization of hospitalized children. Sonia has worked as a Child Life specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since June 2012, focusing on providing Child Life services in the Emergency Department. Throughout her 10-year career she has had the opportunity to support many patients and families from vast backgrounds this includes working with Level 1 trauma patients, providing bereavement services for various populations in the hospital as well as family/sibling grief support. Aside from these experiences Sonia has a passion for teaching and training interns to become Child Life specialist. Being Bilingual in Spanish, she is an advocate for Spanish speaking families. Sonia is enthusiastic about being able to use her strong skill set of trauma and grief support to help as many children and families as possible in the community.
DeJuanet is a Certified Child Life Specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She received her Master’s in Child Life and has experience supporting children with autism in various settings, including healthcare. Her goal is to continue her professional development that promotes respect and confidence when working with diverse patients and families.
has been Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) since 2000, both in traditional and nontraditional settings, including in management as the Child Life Manager at University of California Irvine Medical Center, prior to joining Azusa Pacific University (APU) in 2017, as the Director for Master of Science in Child Life program. Charity is active in the community representing child life and has served in several ACLP committees and is currently an active Advisory Board member with Lollipop Theater, Advisory Board member for local community colleges, a board member with the CACLP, and a member of the Founders Council for the Child Life Academic Society.