Students Reinvent Popular Teddy Bear Hospital Event
Each year, hundreds of families bring their children to Albany Med for Teddy Bear Hospital Day, where Albany Medical College students “take care” of the teddy bears and use hands-on activities to teach children about good health, nutrition, and basic medical procedures. When the pandemic prevented the event from happening, students and faculty got creative.
With the assistance of student-run Healthy Pictures Productions and countless staff members from Albany Med, LifeNet and Five Quad Ambulance, students recreated the beloved event with a series of videos.
The videos follow “Teddy” as he takes a tumble in the woods and is transported by ambulance to Albany Med. There, he receives care from a series of doctors and nurses for his injuries. The videos also address mental health, the dangers of smoking, and using dance as a form of stress relief and exercise.
While the goal is to educate children and make them more comfortable going to the doctor or hospital, students also benefit. “It is a privilege for us as medical students to provide preventative health education to children in the Capital Region,” said Brian Talbot, ’22.
More recently, as some restrictions have lifted, students have begun to host a series of “pop-up clinics” throughout the community, including at Albany’s South End Children’s Café and Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus (RISSE), where children can bring their teddy bears for a check-up.
There, students recreate many of the activities children and families enjoy most about Teddy Bear Hospital Day, such as “casting” the teddy bears’ arms and legs or listening to their heartbeats. Students also helped the children make masks and gowns for their bears.
“I always love the energy and enthusiasm the kids bring,” said Karen Zhu, ‘23. “In these challenging times it was great to connect with the kids again and talk about health and wellness in the fun way that is unique to Teddy Bear Hospital Day.”
Funding for Teddy Bear Hospital Day is provided by Students Care for Kids. Teddy Bear Hospital Day is coordinated through the Department of Family & Community Medicine as part of Albany Medical College’s Project MedSCOPE (Medical Student Community Outreach for Prevention & Education) initiative, a program sponsored by MVP Health Care.