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What is Sidekicks?

Sidekicks seeks to establish formal, longitudinal connections between medical students and pediatric patients with life threatening conditions, with a focus on hematology and oncology. Sidekicks encourages relationships between pediatric patients, and their families facing the moving trials of serious illness by offering support, perspective and mentorship in and outside the context of formal medical treatment.  While the program is intended primarily to provide support and companionship for families burdened with illness, it is also meant for exposing medical students to the complex issues of illness and care giving.  The questions and ideas that will emerge from this service in the community will be used to inspire discussion within the group, and bring forth important issues surrounding care for the seriously ill, both through primary experience, and exposure to related literature in the sciences and humanities.

How does Sidekicks work?

Each member is matched with a pediatric patient, who will become his or her buddy. The pair will get to know each other, share interests, and spend time with each other. Sidekicks are encouraged to spend time with their buddies at medical appointments—to give them something to look forward to about coming to the hospital. The relationship is built on a connection outside of the medical team- the Sidekicks are there for support and friendship for the buddies as well as their families. During the year, the group has several parties that include families and friends for everyone to get together and have fun!

Sidekicks as an Optional Enrichment Elective (OEE)

In addition to being matched with a patient, Sidekicks will meet 10 times during the academic year with a different topic to be presented and discussed each week. The overall theme of the elective is to learn about caring for children with chronic illnesses as well as the role of palliative care. Guest speakers—doctors, child life specialists, families, and even a clown—join the group and share their experiences.

What does it take to be a Sidekick?

Medical students can apply at the start of the year (August) to tell the leaders why they would like to be a part of the program. Once the program begins, the students will be matched and the optional enrichment elective meetings will begin. All it takes is an enthusiastic and dedicated person who wants to build a friendship with a pediatric patient.

Contact Us

If you have any question about the program, please contact:

2015-2016 Leaders:

Robert Barber, Joanna GlanzNathalie Nader, Jeffrey Salemi

Faculty Advisor:

Dr. Naheed Usmani

Meetings & Events

2015 schedule of events is coming soon!