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Sam's Fans partnership with Golisano Children's Hospital of SWFL consists of funding stipends for four Florida State and FGCU Interns, necessary musical instruments and equipment as well as continuing education programs.

Students that are accepted into the internship program at Golisano Children's will be eligible to receive a $1,000 total stipend to help offset costs associated with their internship (i.e.: travel expenses, meals, continuing education, increased cost of living). $500 would be given upon initial completion of first half of internship (after three months). Remaining balance of $500 would be given upon internship completion. Each internship lasts a total of six months. 

Once the recording equipment is able to be purchase, the music therapist and interns will be able to create high quality recordings of original songs created by patients and families during music therapy sessions. 

Florida State University Music therapy internEmily Offenkrantz and Tracey Failla center and FGCU intern works with a patient Milda Chartier  age 3 at Golisano Children's Hospital of SWF in Fort Myers ,Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (Chris Tilley Photo/Chris Tilley)

Golisano’s music therapist works as part of their interdisciplinary team to support patients and families through evidence based interventions, while working to improve medical outcomes. Their therapist participates in daily hospital rounds and provides assessments and patient progress with the medical team. 

During the 2020 fiscal year, over 1,500 patients benefited from their music therapy services, despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Of these patients, 45% were diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability. 

Music therapy services are provided within all inpatient units, including the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care units, as well as outpatient units such as the Pediatric Sedation Center and Emergency Department. 

Golisano's long-term goal is to hire at least one more full-time music therapist for Golisano Children’s Hospital of SWFL. To run their program each fiscal year, they must rely on philanthropic support, as this program does not have billable hours through the hospital. The cost each year to run this program is more than $50,000. 

Until they are able to hire an additional full-time board certified therapist, they currently accept music therapy interns from Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida State University (who are required to do at least 900 internship hours before they are able to become board certified). Golisano Children’s Hospital of SWFL is working toward becoming a national roster internship site for the American Music Therapy Association. In order to stay competitive with other internship sites in the country, they would need to be able to offer a stipend to help offset living expenses for our students. 

In regard to equipment needs, creating original songs with patients and families is an important music therapy intervention they use on a regular basis. Songwriting is an opportunity for a patient to express any fears or challenges they may be experiencing as a result of their diagnosis. They would like to provide our patients with the opportunity to record their own custom composition which provides them with a tangible product and record of this period in their life. These recordings can also be added to legacy building projects and can provide some comfort for families and caregivers during bereavement situations.

Through the purchase of new recording equipment thanks to Sam's Fans, they can now provide their patients and families with high quality recordings, which can help create a positive hospital experience!

Tracey Failla center and  Florida State University Music Therapy intern Emily Offenkrantz at Golisano Children's Hospital of SWF in Fort Myers ,Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (Chris Tilley Photo/Chris Tilley)

You can support the work at Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida and Sam's Fans' other partner institutions! Please consider making a donation below: