Child Life Specialist Named Top in Nation

When Mattie Dunn started her career at Cincinnati Children’s 30 years ago, her calling was to nurture children and help them reach their full potential. That commitment has never waned, and it’s one of the reasons she recently received national recognition as the Delta Air Lines Child Life Specialist of the Year.

The award is given out annually to one child life specialist who goes above and beyond in their career, helping kids to cope with the stress of being in the hospital and connecting with thfem in ways that help improve outcomes. Mattie works with some of our most vulnerable patients, providing professional and compassionate care for children and adolescents at our College Hill campus, which is dedicated to mental and behavioral healthcare needs.

“Mattie is a passionate advocate for her patients, families and colleagues,” Wanda Baker, Mattie’s clinical manager, says. “It is one of the many qualities that make her an excellent child life specialist. She works hard to ensure that the kids in her care have what they need to succeed.”

Cincinnati Children’s was one of the first medical centers to establish a Child Life program, and ours is one of the largest programs in the country. Our specialists incorporate creative art therapies, adaptive play, animal assisted therapy and more to help our patients and families understand and face medical procedures. 

Along with the national recognition, Mattie’s award brings a donation of $15,000 in her honor to our program from Delta Air Lines.