All Dream Doctors have a rich background in the dramatic arts (acting, street theatre, physical clowning, and more) and undergo training to be able to work in hospitals.
Dream Doctors consider medical clowning as therapeutic. Similarly to other professionals and paraprofessionals working in the hospital, the Dream Doctors work on set days and regular hours. The Dream Doctors’ work is the hospital’s responsibility; each hospital directs the personnel to where they are most needed.
The Dream Doctors Project was born in 2002 out of the desire to improve the wellbeing of child patients and their families, and to assist the medical care staff in making procedures less anxiety-ridden. Our vision is to provide a response to a greater number of child patients and act to promote medical clowning as an officially-recognized paramedical profession. To this end, we are working vis a vis the Ministry of Health to define proper professional criteria.
The Dream Doctors Project was born in 2002 at Hadassah Hebrew University Hospital, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem; other hospitals gradually joined the Project. We are currently working in partnership with 29 hospitals in Israel, with more than 111 official clowning positions, so that each year, approximately 200,000 children and adult patients encounter a Dream Doctor.
Thanks to the openness and willingness among hospital administrators, Dream Doctors work hand in hand with the medical care staff performing more than 40 various medical procedures. Our vision is to provide a response to a greater number of child patients and act to promote medical clowning as an officially-recognized paramedical profession. To this end, we are working vis a vis the Ministry of Health to define proper professional criteria.
Over the more than a decade of the Project, a scientific community has grown up which is examining the contribution by medical clowns to the health and wellbeing of patients.
Scientific research studies have proven that the presence of a medical clown helps reduce the anxiety of the child patient and family, lessens pain and alleviates depression, and sometimes makes it unnecessary to use sedation. The clowns often assist the medical staff in raising morale, as well. In 2011, the Dream Doctors Project founded a Research Fund, which so far has supported 22 scientific studies with the research taking place in various hospitals throughout Israel.
Beyond the Dream Doctors’ work in medical centers, a unique intervention program has been developed by the Project to send in medical clowns during times of national emergency and natural disaster in Israel and abroad. When needed, Dream Doctors join the Israeli search and rescue missions for work on site, carrying out primary interventions to prevent the development of post-trauma.
Furthermore, for the past few years, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has integrated Dream Doctors in goodwill missions abroad on behalf of informational activities about Israel.