Clowns on Call

Bringing the Fun of the Circus to Hospitalized Children

The only program of its kind in the bi-state region, the Clowns on Call Clown Doctors bring laughter, healing, cheer, and the wonders of the circus to hospitalized children and their families.

The program’s performers are experienced professional artists, skilled in multiple genres, including clowning, music, juggling, magic, improvisation, puppeteering, dance, and slapstick. The Clown Doctors make ‘clown rounds’ going room to room, entertaining at bedsides, and visiting out-patient clinics and pre-operation areas, as well as producing shows in activity areas.

The Clowns on Call Clown Doctors focus on the physical and mental health of patients, family members, and hospital staff. Our interactions with children, families, and staff support the patient’s emotional well-being, and provide empowerment, comfort, friendship, distraction, belly laughs, amusement, and the wonder of circus.  

Our patients, who range from infants to teens, are not only entertained, but become active agents in their own recovery: appropriate physical activity is encouraged, minds are awakened by magic and music, and frustrations are released through laughter at a clown’s comedic misfortunes. The work of health care providers becomes easier when children are distracted from the discomfort, pain, tedium, or gravity of their immediate situation.

Clowns on Call are once again making the rounds! Audrey “Dr. Pepper” Crabtree and Tom “Too Me” Eggers recently visited patients at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for the first time since the pandemic began. Some things have changed, with COVID-19 protocols in place, but here’s what *hasn’t* changed a bit: the joy, delight, and laughter. Welcome back, Clowns!

It’s easy to tell when Clowns on Call are at Cardinal Glennon… I hear more belly laughing coming from the rooms I walk down the halls. They are an integral part in the child’s hospitalization journey, and recognize that play is healing and laughter is medicine. Since it’s inception, Clowns on Call has been one of the most valued expressive arts programs we offer at Glennon. I get asked all the time “when are the clowns coming in?…” It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a child’s day can be turned around simply by engaging with the clowns.

Kim Eighmey, MA, CCLS, Lead Child Life Specialist
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital

Meeting ‘Doctors’ who are clowns make the hospital a friendlier place, giving the kids the power to poke fun at the sometimes scary and confusing things happening to and around them.

— Dr. Barry Duel, Director of Pediatric Urology
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital

The Clowns on Call mission is to bring laughter, healing, cheer, and wonders of the circus to hospitalized children and their families.

We would like to thank our generous supporters:

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