NPO 032: Seeing Patients as Master Teachers (Shay Beider, Integrative Touch for Kids)


Today's Guest: Shay Beider
Shay has been a pioneer in the field of Integrative Medicine for the past 17 years. She is the founder and Executive Director for Integrative Touch for Kids (ITK), a non-profit organization whose purpose is to enhance well-being, minimize suffering and facilitate healing for children with special medical needs and their families. Shay is an expert in the field of pediatric massage therapy and has taught internationally. Shay is a frequent public speaker on wellness topics and has presented at numerous medical conferences. In 2003, Shay was awarded the Women’s Studies Achievement Award from UCLA.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Integrative Touch for Kids
Integrative Touch for Kids (ITK) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to enhance well being, minimize suffering and facilitate healing for children with chronic, acute and life limiting illness. They are committed to working directly with families and children with special needs, pediatric hospitals, hospices, and other organizations to provide healing services, consultation, education, program development and support. They work to educate integrative medicine practitioners and engage in scientific research to further the development of integrative medical services for vulnerable and under-served populations nationally and internationally.

Lessons Learned:
In our conversation, Shay shares so passionately about her work and told great stories. Some of the key lessons she has learned through her work with Integrative Touch for Kids are outlined below: 

  1. How to create a business model that works
    1. Developing an Earned Revenue model that allows for some costs to be covered by hospitals.
    2. This still allows for patients to access services for free, but also puts ITK in a place to create a sustainable and replicable program.
  2. Outcome data can be a powerful testimonial for why people should implement the program. In addition to health outcomes, ITK found that their support led to:
    1. patients needing less pain and anxiety medication
    2. patients getting discharged faster
    3. parents of patients were easier to work with.
  3. Volunteer support can make so much possible!
    1. ITK only has 3 full time employees and 2 part-time employees, but has 450-500 volunteers in order to accomplish their mission!
    2. Several committees are completely comprised of volunteers too.
    3. Volunteers are always potential donors and are great advocates for the organization to help you reach additional donors too!
  4. Media exposure-- ITK was featured for a PBS video! This brought national attention to their organization and brought a new level of credibility to their work.
    1. This came about through a volunteer recommending the org to PBS.
    2. Here is a link to that video:
  5. Seeing the patients as master teachers.
    1. Important lessons they've learned from patients:
      1. Addressing the whole family: We have to treat the whole family-- the child who is a patient is not the only one that needs attention.
      2. We have to recognize the social stigma and find ways to address it.
        1. This led them to create their Buddy Program, creating the social network to better support the patients.
        2. In creating the Buddy Program, they also inadvertently created what some parents have now called "the best compassion training" as these young children are gaining insight into how to better understand people who have different abilities than themselves.
    2.  Growth is only available when everyone is seen as equals-- from patients to care-givers. The best way to show this is to listen deeply.

Find Integrative Touch for Kids online:


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