Israeli Medical Clowns Bring Joy to Disaster Victims Around the World
The Dream Doctors Project is a unique Israeli organization working to promote therapeutic medical clowning as a paramedical profession, so that any hospitalized person in Israel and around the world can benefit from this research-proven technique. Dream Doctors’ medical clowns are integral members of medical teams in 30 hospitals across Israel, assisting doctors and nurses in performing more than 40 different medical procedures, and facilitating an improvement in the patients’ well-being and the efficacy of healthcare delivery. Dream Doctors reaches over 200,000 patients each year, including children, adults, at-risk youth, the elderly, veterans, Holocaust survivors, and communities in trauma. The medical clowns, who undergo a five-month training course, are also trained to be members of the Israeli army’s humanitarian relief teams, and travel to disaster zones around the world in times of crises. Dream Doctors have provided emergency support to survivors in natural disasters, including the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004); the massive earthquakes that took place in Indonesia (2009), Haiti (2010), and Nepal (2015); and the U.S. city of Houston after Hurricane Irma (2017). Most recently, the Dream Doctors were dispatched to Pittsburgh after the 2018 synagogue shooting and flew to the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019.