Expanding Music Therapy Access – Dayton Children’s Hospital

For today’s blog post we are bringing you an update about the music therapy program that Sam’s Fans supports at Dayton Children’s Hospital (DCH). This blog post is based on the episode from The Power of Stories with Ella Guillard, MT-BC, music therapist at DCH. 


New Music Therapist in Behavioral Health Unit

Sam’s Fans first supported the first pilot program for music therapists at DCH. In 2019, the hospital integrated the costs of having that first music therapist into their budget and Sam’s Fans started a gift for a music therapist in the newly-opened behavioral health unit of the hospital. 

We were very happy to hear that now there is even one more music therapist in the unit. All of the therapists on the unit, including the music therapists, are activity therapists. Another activity therapist transferred to another hospital and there was an opening. They interviewed music therapist Tyler Perry and thought he was a great fit, loved having him, and offered him the position. Ella Guillard shared with us that “it’s been wonderful having him here.”


Tyler Perry went to school at Immaculata University outside of Philadelphia. Ella shared that it has been nice for her to have a guy activity therapist and another music therapist on the unit. Lindsey Steinbrunner, who was the first music therapist that Sam’s Fans supported, works in a different unit of the hospital. 


Ella and Tyler have been thinking about doing some collaborations at some point or wondering how they can work with Sam’s Fans as a team. The idea was shared to talk about their approaches and how things are different having two music therapists. That could be a whole other conversation at some point!


Ella Guillard’s background

This is a direct transcription from the conversation with Ella Guillard:

“I found out about music therapy in high school. I was pretty big into band and choir. And always had an interest in working in the medical field because I spent three months and two days at Akron children’s as a premature baby. 

I knew that about my history but also didn’t feel all that connected with nurses or with becoming a doctor. 

I felt something I might enjoy but not 100%. And so, when I heard about music therapy, that’s really what sealed it in for me. Absolutely, I want to do this, especially working in more of a healthcare setting as opposed to school or prisons or all different kinds of settings that music therapists can be in. 


I went to Baldwin Wallace University right away outside of Cleveland. They have a really strong program for music therapy. I was able to do some practicum experiences and begin really working with people and found that I liked a lot of different populations. 

A lot of different groups of people with developmental disabilities, people with psychiatric disorders, all different kinds of things but I still really enjoyed the hospital setting. 

Then, when I got into my internship, I also had a complete mix of populations. I worked with preschoolers all the way up through over 100 years old in hospice. Yet, I still found that I enjoyed the hospital setting and at least some form of medical setting the most. 

So, it was a great fit then for me to come into Dayton children’s with Lindsey. The program was already established but there was a need on a new unit. I believed the unit opened on July 19th and I started in September. Just a few months in, I was able to bring in music therapy to a group of kids. In many ways, probably they would not receive music therapy on a day-to-day basis otherwise.

It’s a wonderful coalition. I am able to cross music therapists and see others coming in to expand the team. It’s very much needed on both ends of the spectrum.”

Check out the full episode with Ella Guillard here. And thank you for reading! 

L. Samuel Gracida

L. Samuel Gracida

Samuel is Sam's Fans Operating Director and our primary blogger!

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