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Our Team

At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, our certified child life specialists have extensive training in child development and can provide effective, appropriate support to meet the needs of your youngster or teen.

Child life specialist Amy Carter with boy

Our staff members have master's and bachelor's degrees in child development, child life and family-centered care, or related fields. These specialists work throughout the hospital and the emergency department, offering support for children and families to help them cope with injuries and illnesses.

Our team also includes caring volunteers and child life interns who are dedicated to making your child's hospital experience as comfortable as possible. They are sensitive to the social and emotional needs of your child and family, and aim to make your experience as positive as possible.

Jennie Ott, MS, CCLS -- Director, Child Life
jennie.ott@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child life and family centered care, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
  • BA in psychology, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY

Amy Carter, MS, CCLS -- Lead Child Life Specialist
amy.carter@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child life and family centered care, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
  • BA in psychology with a child development concentration, Quinnipiac College, Hamden, CT

Ashlee Burgess, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist I
ashlee.burgess@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in Child Life and Family Centered Care, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
  • BS in Human Development with a focus in Psychology, minors in child health and music, Wheelock College, Boston, MA

Aimee Karas, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist II
aimee.karas@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child development, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
  • BA in psychology, minor in art history, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

Tracy Lau-Esquibel, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist II
tracy.lau-esquibel@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child development, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
  • BS in biology, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL

Jenn Loewy, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist II
jennifer.loewy@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child development, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
  • MSW, Columbia University School of Social Work, New York, NY
  • BA in psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Nilu Rahman, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist II
nilu.rahman@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life Specialist
  • MS in Child Development, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
  • BS in Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Amy Heinz, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist I
amy.heinz@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child development, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
  • BS in applied health science-human development/family studies, minor in psychology and sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Beth Johnson, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist I
beth.johnson@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life Specialist
  • MS in Education, Early Childhood with Special Education Endorsement, Dominican University, River Forest, IL
  • BA in Psychology, College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minnesota

Amy LeMay, BS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist I
amy.lemay@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • BS in Leisure Studies: Child Life, University of Iowa, Iowa City

Kathleen O’Sullivan, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist I
kathleen.o’sullivan@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child development, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
  • BA in music, minor in studio art, Loyola University, Chicago, IL


Denise Schmidt, M.Ed., CCLS -- Child Life Specialist I
denise.schmidt@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • M.Ed. in child studies, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • BS in mass communication, minor in marketing and French, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO

Beth Sherwood, MS, CCLS -- Child Life Specialist I
beth.sherwood@uchospitals.edu

  • Certified Child Life specialist
  • MS in child development, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
  • BS in art therapy, minor in psychology, Edgewood College, Madison, WI

Yasuko Yoshihara, MA ATR, LCPC -- Art Therapist
yasuko.yoshihara@uchospitals.edu

  • Registered art therapist
  • MA in art therapy, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL
  • BA in textile design, Tokyo Zokei Art University, Tokyo, Japan



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The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital  |   5721 S. Maryland Avenue   |   Chicago, IL 60637