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Dr Peter Spitzer

Dr Peter SpitzerDr. Peter Spitzer, MB BS (Melb), FACRRM, Churchill Fellow Chief Investigator (E) SMILE Study, University of New South Wales Medical Director, Humour Foundation, Visiting Medical Officer Southern Highlands Private Hospital. Dr Spitzer is Australia's most famous and first medical Clown Doctor (aka Dr Fruit Loop). He is the Medical Director, cofounder and Inaugural Chairman of the Humour Foundation charity, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health benefits of humour. As a physician he works in a general medical practice and has training in acupuncture, musculoskeletal medicine, hypnosis, psychotherapy and natural medicine.

As a Clown Doctor, he visits children in hospital, bringing healing laughter to relieve stress and fear, and aid recovery. Clown Doctors also play a role in palliative care for adults and children, and more recently have expanded their program to include nursing homes. Dr. Spitzer is involved in the training of Clown Doctors. In 2003, he developed the "LaughterBoss" training program to enable healthcare professionals in nursing homes to develop creative skills in introducing humour and laughter into their practice. In addition he is actively involved in bringing the arts to both undergraduate and postgraduate medical, nursing and allied health programs.

In 2001 Dr Spitzer was awarded the Churchill Fellowship to study the international impact of hospital clown units on the health care system. He is also currently involved in a joint study between the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre of University of New South Wales and the Humour Foundation in the landmark 3 year SMILE (Sydney Multisite Intervention of LaughterBosses and ElderClowns 2009 - 2011).

Memories of a smile: Twenty-five years of clowns promoting good health and wellbeing across the lifespan in hospitals and residential care facilities.

This presentation will describe the work of clowns in hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world. It will describe how clowns promote good health and share observations about the benefits and best practice gained from research conducted in Australia and Canada.

Workshop with Prof Bernie Warren: Smiles are everywhere: introducing clown-play and humour into your practiceThis workshop will introduce participants to clown-plays and shown how to integrate these skills into their professional work. Emphasis throughout will be on developing transportable play, humour and clown skills that may be used in a variety of health-care, educational and community settings.