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Children and Their Teddy's: Health Made Fun at Medical Museum's Teddy Bear Clinic

By Katie Berland,
NMHM Public Affairs Specialist

SILVER SPRING, MD - A trip to the "doctor" has never been so fun, thanks to the National Museum of Health and Medicine's annual Teddy Bear Clinic, which was held on September 24, 2016. Since 2009, this event has aimed to provide an educational and fun opportunity for children of all ages to learn age-appropriate health information and the importance of staying healthy, all while using their stuffed friend as the patient.

After donning a doctor's coat and taking a clipboard, young visitors were encouraged to make doctors' bags or nurses' hats, and enjoy a series of hands-on activities at stations outside of the museum. Seven stations focused on important topics such as immunization, dental health, nutrition, hearing, head and brain safety, exercise, and vitals.

The event was supported by volunteers from the Howard University College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy; Howard University Pediatric Interest Association (HUPIA); the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC); the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center Audiology Clinic; and NMHM museum volunteers.

"For the kids, it makes going to the doctor less scary - it makes health and medicine-related things easier for them to understand, especially with the help of their teddy bears," said Lysa Auguste, a Howard University medical student.

For some of the volunteers and families, it was their first time at the event. For others, the Teddy Bear Clinic serves as an annual checkup for a stuffed friend and a chance to interact with children. Osvaldo Mercado, co-president of HUPIA, said "We've been doing this for a couple of years now, and the [medical] students really enjoy it. It gives them a chance to interact with kids, which is something, unless they're going into pediatrics, most of them don't get to do very often. It's a really great thing."

While focusing on the health of their stuffed friends is fun for the children, the event also serves as a learning opportunity for parents. Parents had the opportunity to learn about exercise for all ages, important vaccinations, and other various health topics.

"It's a wonderful event because every child needs to learn about their body and health at an early age, bringing it down to their level with their teddies is a great way to get them to relate," said Kris Magliano, NMHM volunteer.

NMHM's public programs connect the mission of the Department of Defense museum with the public. NMHM was founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862 and moved to its new location in Silver Spring, MD in 2012. Information on upcoming events, including "Scout Day" on October 15, can be found at www.medicalmuseum.mil. For additional questions or information, please call 301-319-3300.

 

Caption: Students from the Howard University College of Medicine Pediatric Interest Association work on health-related crafts with a young attendee during the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Students from the Howard University College of Medicine Pediatric Interest Association talk to a young attendee during the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Students from the Howard University College of Medicine Pediatric Interest Association talk to a young attendee during the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Staff from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Audiology Clinic talk to children about hearing safety during the NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Staff from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Audiology Clinic talk to children about hearing safety during the NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Staff from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Audiology Clinic talk to children about hearing safety during the NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Staff from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Audiology Clinic talk to children about hearing safety during the NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Staff from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Audiology Clinic talk to children about hearing safety during the NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: A National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) volunteer talks to a NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic attendee about the parts of the brain on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: A Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) staff member talks to NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic attendees about brain safety on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Students from the Department of Physical Therapy at Howard University College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences play games and talk fitness with a young attendee during the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Students from the Howard University College of Medicine Pediatric Interest Association talk to a young attendee during the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Students from the Howard University College of Medicine Pediatric Interest Association talk to a young attendee during the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Students from the Howard University College of Medicine Pediatric Interest Association talk to a young attendee during the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Staff from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Audiology Clinic talk to children about hearing safety during the NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Staff from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Audiology Clinic talk to children about hearing safety during the NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The NMHM Teddy Bear Clinic highlights the body, physical fitness and healthy habits and is designed for children ages 4-7.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)