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Joslin's Teddy Bear Clinic Provides Fun Diabetes Education

Teddy Bear Clinic eye check

Monday, May 03, 2010

Dozens of children and their families came to Joslin on May 1 for the eighth annual Teddy Bear Clinic, which offered a friendly and entertaining way to learn about diabetes. Children brought their own teddy bears or other stuffed animals, and acted as doctors through medical procedures ranging from a weigh-in to an eye exam to a hospital stay. The young “doctors” also could pick another bear to take home. Run by pediatric staff and volunteers, the event was more than just fun for kids and their families living with diabetes, emphasized Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section.

“The Teddy Bear Clinic provides multiple teachable moments, in a safe and fun environment,” said Dr. Laffel. “It’s a big day for kids with diabetes. They can come to Joslin and for once they won’t be examined and prodded themselves—instead, they examine their bears.”

Joslin was one of the first institutions to offer such an activity for outpatient children, and it fits directly within Joslin’s pediatric diabetes management strategy. “The best predictor of success in handling diabetes is to participate in regular medical care and education,” Dr. Laffel pointed out. “We want to start that habit in childhood and continue it into adulthood. The Teddy Bear Clinic helps to offer a positive environment for children who come here.”

“I love this event,” said one mother as she watched her five-year-old daughter give her bear an eye exam. “It reinforces what we’ve been telling our children about nutrition and being healthy.”

Here are more photos from the event.

Teddy Bear Clinic eye exam

Page last updated: June 26, 2019