Clown Care

Our clown care team in action

Hospitals can seem like a scary place to children, whether they are a patient or a sibling. It can also be a frightening experience for parents who have a sick child in the hospital. To help alleviate a family’s fears and anxiety, our Clown Care team provides artistic, humorous entertainment for our patients and families visiting or staying in the hospital.



Our Clown Care Team

All of the clowns are professional circus clowns from the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Program®, who have been trained specifically to perform in a hospital setting whether it’s at a child’s bedside or in an outpatient clinic.

Three days a week, these "doctors of delight" make "clown rounds" around the main hospital campus, a parody of medical rounds where laughter is the goal and humor is the chief treatment. The clowns use performances such as red nose transplants, kitty cat scans, funny bone exams, music, and magic tricks to demystify even the most complicated, serious medical treatments to support the emotional well-being of children and their families.

Clown Visits

The Clown Care team serves our inpatient units, intensive care units, outpatient clinics, and acute care waiting areas, touching the lives of thousands of children and families each year.

Our clowns help to offer entertainment to children undergoing treatment for life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses, including cancer, accidental injuries, brain tumors, heart problems, craniofacial disorders, and spinal cord tumors and malformations.

Request a Visit

Families can also request a visit from our clown care team. To request a visit, please contact the registered nurse or Child Life Specialist on your child’s unit.

Our Clown Care History

Children's National has offered this program to children and families since 1997 through the generous support of corporate, Foundation, and individual donors.

Clown Care, the signature community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 14 leading pediatric facilities across the United States.

Contact Us

For more information about our clown care, contact Brenda Shepherd-Vernon at 202-476-5214 or bshepher@childrensnational.org.