LAMC’s Teddy Bear Clinic Draws Kindergarten Crowd

Aspen Elementary kindergartners visit Los Alamos Medical Center Friday for the annual Teddy Bear Clinic. Throughout the day, all five elementary schools participated in the clinic. Adults from left, Erin Warren, RN; Courtney Thompson, RN; Teddy Bear Clinic Chair Johanna Giron; her husband LAMC CEO Feliciano Jiron; Dr. Josiah Child and Aspen kindergarten teacher Luci Best. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

LAFD firefighter Michael McElyea talks with Mountain Elementary students about the equipment used to fight fires. Photo by Carol A. Clark/


Los Alamos Daily Post

Kindergartners from all five local elementary schools attended this year’s fourth annual Teddy Bear Clinic throughout the day Friday at Los Alamos Medical Center.

“Usually a child’s first experience with a hospital is something traumatic such as their own illness or that of a grandparent or other loved one – and we wanted to make their first impression a positive one,” said founder Johanna Jiron whose husband Feliciano is CEO of the hospital.

Through several years of hosting Teddy Bear Clinics for various age groups in communities where her husband was running hospitals, Jiron discovered that kindergarten students were the most receptive age.

“I started the program in Las Vegas, N.M., in 2000 at Northeastern Medical Center,” she said. “We try the preschool age group at western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, Ariz. We settled on kindergartners at Mark Twain St. Joseph Medical Center in San Andreas, Calif.”

Jiron founded the Teddy Bear Clinic at LAMC in 2012 and discovered that spreading the school visits by 340 kindergarteners throughout the day has worked very well. Barranca, Chamisa and Pinon students participated in the program during the morning Friday and Aspen and Mountain took the afternoon slots.

“This year we have had such great participation from Classic Air Medical giving the kids tours of their helicopter, Los Alamos Firefighters showing the kids their fire engine and ambulance and the Los Alamos Police Department’s Emergency Dispatch Center representatives who explain how everything works,” she said. “Also, the Emergency Department, Imaging, Lab, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy and the New Mexico Sinus Institute all did a great job with the kids.”

Doctors, nurses and other staff members participate in the annual Teddy Bear Clinic by interacting with the kids and having them tour various rooms at the medical center. They tour emergency services, lab, radiology, physical therapy, and physician clinics. Each department presentation is 10 minutes long.

Each student receives a backpack filled with memories from their day at the Teddy Bear Clinic.

“We always end the event with an ice cream social for the employees as a way to say thank you because we appreciate their participation so much,” Jiron said.

Los Alamos firefighter Taylor Garcia-Anaya discusses various firefighting equipment with kindergartners from Mountain. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Los Alamos firefighter Taylor Garcia-Anaya discusses the inside of the department’s ambulance. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Los Alamos firefighter firefighter Michael McElyea, left, and firefighter Taylor Garcia-Anaya discuss features of the vehicle. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Kindergarten students gather at the police patrol car to hear about the Emergency Dispatch Center at the Los Alamos Police Department. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

From left, Los Alamos County’s Emergency Dispatch Center Supervisor Kate Stoddard, 911 Operator Rueban Garcia and Cpl. James Keane talk with the kindergartners from Mountain about their operations. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Classic Air Medical pilot Geoff Rodgers gives kindergartners the opportunity to check out the inside of the helicopter during Friday’s Teddy Bear Clinic. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Mountain Elementary School kindergartners take turns sitting inside the Classic Air Medical helicopter during Thursday’s Teddy Bear Clinic at LAMC. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The students take a break in the shade and have a picnic outside LAMC during Friday’s annual Teddy Bear Clinic. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

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