Big Apple Circus Clown Care® Celebrates 15 Years of Bringing Smiles to Hospitalized Children at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Published on: 11/04/2015

MIAMI — On any given day at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Clown Doctors can be seen roaming the hallways and visiting children, using the healing power of humor to create smiles when and where they are needed the most.  Today, Big Apple Circus Clown Care® is celebrating 15 years of bringing such laughter to patients and their families at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. To commemorate the occasion, patients and their families were treated to a carnival-themed “Quinceañera,” a Spanish coming-of-age celebration held on a child’s 15th birthday, in the hospital’s playroom, complete with food, games, prizes, and fun for all.

“The Clown Care program plays an essential role in the healing process for the children in our care. We are grateful for our ongoing collaboration with Big Apple Circus to provide this valued service to our patients and their families,” said Michael Kushner, Senior Vice President and Talent Officer for Miami Children’s Health System.

Clown Care® Clown Doctors are specially selected professional performers who are trained to work in the sensitive hospital environment. In partnership with medical staff, they use juggling, comedy, magic and music to help ease the stress of illness and aid in patients’ healing.   Clown Doctors visit all parts of the hospital – inpatient wards, emergency department, and outpatient clinics – treating the healthy part of the child and re-introducing laughter and play as natural parts of life, even in a hospital.
Big Apple Circus

“This has been an incredible partnership,” stated Dina Paul-Parks, Vice President of Community Programs at Big Apple Circus.  “We are so thrilled to mark this milestone.  We look forward to continuing to create magic for the families and staff at Nicklaus Children’s for many, many years to come.”

BAC’s Clown Doctors use minimal make-up and evocative costumes to create unique and approachable characters. There are a total of 12 Clown Doctors at Nicklaus Children’s, and they pair up to make “ Clown Rounds” six days a week, totaling more than 30,000 one-on-one bedside visits and patient encounters annually throughout the hospital.

Big Apple Circus Clown Care® was established in 1986 by BAC Co-Founder Michael Christensen. It is a community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus. The program brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 15 leading pediatric facilities across the United States.

Big Apple Circus
Big Apple Circus

About Big Apple Circus

Conceived and founded by Paul Binder and Michael Christensen to be a leading presenter of live family entertainment and a nonprofit performing arts institution, our nationwide performances and community programs have made our 38-year history far-reaching and full. It all began in 1974, when American entertainers Binder and Christensen became juggling partners and took to the street corners of Europe. Their comedic juggling act was a hit, and they soon found themselves on the stage of the prestigious Nouveau Cirque de Paris. They returned home to America in 1976 with a vision: to entertain and improve the lives of millions of American children and families. One year later, they found a site for the first tent-raising in Battery Park, New York, and went on to create the award-winning, nonprofit Big Apple Circus. For more information, visit

About Nicklaus Children's Hospital

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children's Hospital is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with nearly 800 attending physicians and more than 475 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children's Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession's most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit

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