Skip to Content

NEWS

Profiles of Courage: Caitlin Constantino

BY Kadesha Washington

Caitlin Constantino is the educational liaison at The Valerie Fund Psychosocial & Palliative Care Program at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She helps childhood cancer patients re-enter school once they are cleared medically and works alongside the family and school to monitor academic and social progress. Amid COVID19, schools across the nation have moved to online classroom learning, and Caitlin has helped families adapt to these new changes.

“I ensure they obtain the appropriate technology needed for their child to participate in online schooling. This includes making requests to schools and the Department of Education as well as connecting them to free wi-fi services.”

Most students in grades K-12 have access to the technology they need to complete their school assignments. But for patients that have graduated high school or those who were not ready to begin college right away, challenges exist.

“A patient reached out to me because he was no longer able to go to the library (due to COVID-19), and he did not have a computer at home,” said Caitlin. “I was able to secure a laptop and had it shipped to his house. I then worked with him remotely to complete his college applications.”

Now more than ever, patient families are calling upon Caitlin for guidance and support. While her role has changed significantly, she is fortunate to have a built-in support system.

“I have a very positive relationship with the educational liaisons at other Valerie Fund Children’s Centers. We have a weekly call to support one another and talk through any issues as we continue to work with our families and schools.”

We’re so thankful for Caitlin and The Valerie Fund as they support the educational needs of our patients year-round!


Have a story that you would like to share? We would love to hear from you! Send an email to Kadesha Washington at kw2718@cumc.columbia.edu.