Riverview Medical Center Art Therapy Program Celebrates 30th Anniversary!

Contact:Tom Paolella, Public Relations Manager

Riverview Medical Center Art Therapy Program Celebrates 30th Anniversary!

Created in 1980, Riverview Medical Center's Art Therapy Program has been providing support groups for children who have experienced an illness or death in the family. This program provides a safe, creative outlet for children's concerns and feelings about illness and death, using the art therapy process. The groups are led by an experienced licensed clinical social worker and a board certified art therapist.

Throughout the years the program has been flexible to meet the needs of the community by providing specialized groups for families affected by September 11, sibling loss and parent art therapy groups. In the past 18 months, art therapy services have expanded to the hospital inpatient oncology patients and the SHARE program for parents who have lost a baby either through miscarriage or stillbirth.

"The award-winning Art Therapy Program at Riverview Medical Center has helped children in our community deal with issues of grief and chronic illness," says Kathy McKean, senior nurse manager, patient care services at Riverview Medical Center. "Many of the children who participated in the program years ago are now adults, living happy and healthy lives."

Riverview's Art Therapy was founded in part by long time Riverview nurse, Helen Riegelman, R.N., in response to a request from a hospice patient who was dying of cancer, and desperately looking for help for her own grieving children. The program was one of the first of its kind in the Northeast and was modeled on a similar program in California.

Now 30 years later, Riverview's program has provided help to over 2,500 children. Initially created to meet the needs of families with a cancer diagnosis, the program has evolved to assist families with chronic and terminal illnesses as well as deaths from any cause.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Art Therapy Program will be hosting a series of special events, including:

  • "A Portrait of Grief", an exhibit of the children's artwork. Thursday, October 14 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at McKay Imaging ,12 Monmouth Street, Red Bank. The work can also be viewed during gallery hours on October 20 and 21. All are welcome.
  • "Understanding Illness" exhibit. Throughout September and October at the Betty White Gift Shop at Riverview Medical Center
  • "Buddies Exhibit" -at Anthropologie@ the Grove, Shrewsbury. Oct. 11-15 ,2010

If you know a child that may benefit from the program, please call Jane Weinheimer, Art Therapy Program Coordinator at 732-530-2382.

About Riverview Medical Center Riverview Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health Family, is a not-for-profit community hospital located in Red Bank, New Jersey, providing health care programs and services in all major medical disciplines, including maternity; oncology; orthopedics and rehabilitation; general, neuro, thoracic and vascular surgery; cardiology; renal dialysis; diabetes management; and emergency and critical care services. Riverview's Booker Cancer Center is an affiliate of the renowned Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, and Riverview is home to the only fully accredited acute comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation center in Monmouth County. In addition, its Women Center and Childbirth Center specialize in the full spectrum of needs for the body, mind and spirit. For more information about Riverview Medical Center and Meridian Health, please call the Meridian Health Line at 1-800-560-9990 or visit www.riverviewmedicalcenter.com.