Hospital Educational Advocacy Liaisons (HEAL)

Children that have survived or are continuing to battle a chronic illness may have to deal with the cognitive effects of their illness and treatment. We know that life returning to some semblance of “normal” is critical for a child’s optimal adjustment. An important part of “normal” life for children is continuing their education, whether through home bound teaching or attending school. Unfortunately, parents and children often face new obstacles when a child returns to school. To help, we created the HEAL program staffed by educational professionals to help address a child’s educational care.


  • Help medically fragile children experience success in learning despite limitations imposed by their illness
  • Educate students, parents and school staff about the unique cognitive and social/emotional needs of medically fragile children and their impact on school success

Who should receive services?

What services are provided?

  • Neuropsychological and/or educational screening assessment to determine appropriate school program
  • Information for parents and schools about necessary specialized education and support services
  • School visits to observe child’s educational setting•    School presentations to peers regarding child’s illness
  • Attendance at IEP or SST meetings to advocate for child’s needs
  • Bridging between hospital, school and parents
  • Recommendations for school interventions
  • Reference to other professionals or agencies that can provide additional assessments and therapy for a child

How do I contact HEAL?

  • Pediatric patients are referred to HEAL staff based on the request medical/hospital staff
  • A liaison will send forms to the patient’s family. Upon receipt of the forms a staff person will call the family to assess the patient’s needs and to determine what services are required

HEAL staff

  • Jeanne Kane, MA, is the program coordinator and educational specialist. She has more than 10 years of experience working with medically fragile children in addition to 30 years working with children who have learning differences.
  • Christian Ambler, PhD, is a neuropsychologist with interests in brain injury, executive dysfunction, and neuropsychological sequelae of medical disorders. He completed his internship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and fellowship at Children’s Health Council.
  • Janet Rulifson, MA, MS, is an educational specialist whose area of interest has been the neuropsychological impacts education for children with significant learning disabilities. She was formerly department head for educational assessment at Children’s Health Council.