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UK HealthCast: How we help students diagnosed with cancer navigate school and treatment

UK HealthCast is a podcast series featuring interviews with UK HealthCare experts on a variety of health-related topics.

For this episode, we spoke to Courtney Emery, school intervention specialist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s DanceBlue Hematology/Oncology Clinic.

Emery discussed her work to help children diagnosed with cancer navigate the difficulties of continuing their academic education while undergoing treatment.

What do you do as a school intervention specialist and how does that fit into Kentucky Children's Hospital's Dance/Blue Hematology/Oncology Clinic?

Emery: I serve kids in any capacity regarding school. There's two of us on the team and we serve kids from diagnosis all the way into our long-term follow-up clinic. We really provide anything that they may need. For some kids, that is providing and coordinating instruction, getting a teacher to come to their home when they can't physically go to school, and then also coming to the hospital when they can't leave the hospital due to treatment.

Both of us … were teachers prior to being in this role. We stepped into this role to bridge that gap and work as a liaison between the family, the school and medical team.

Our goal is to keep our kids on track academically and (help them in) continuing their education with their peer group, because those peer relationships are so important.

How do you measure the impact of your clinic/program?

Emery: We also are seeing lots of kids graduate high school, which is very exciting. And then, we actually follow into college and even post-college. We have some patients that have earned master's degrees and (are) even working on PhDs. (It’s) really exciting to see all of the things that these kids overcome and still reach all of their goals, which is our goal. When we walk into a patient's room, we want to know what their goal is, and then we come alongside to help them meet that goal.

For more information, call Kentucky Children's Hospital DanceBlue Hematology clinic at 859-257-4554.

Listen to the UK HealthCast episode with Courtney Emery below:

This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.

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