Dr. Jane Aronson is also known as The Orphan Doctor. As Founder, CEO, and President of Worldwide Orphans, she earned her “a.k.a.” through a lifetime of humanitarian work in the field of orphan care. She is a pediatrician; AIDS medicine specialist; an academic scholar; a teacher; a scientist; a counselor; a cultural and medical expert; a champion for the well-being of children.
Worldwide Orphans (WWO) transforms the lives of children and families in communities impacted by trauma, disaster and poverty in the USA and around the world. Under Dr. Aronson’s leadership and vision, WWO launched their innovative Element of Play® program to create sustainable, positive change for children and families by combining play skills for children and workforce development for local adults/mentors. Through developmentally appropriate, expert-curated Toy Libraries and the Element of Play® curriculum, children engage in creative play and experience physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits. These experiences support child development, promote school readiness, and help heal trauma—with the ripple effect of decreasing abuse and neglect in children’s communities.
WWO provides direct services to more than 9,000 children and adults annually through their Element of Play® programs in Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Haiti, the United States and Vietnam. Over 60 Toy Libraries are currently operating in schools, children’s hospitals, libraries, food pantries, faith-based centers, rehabilitation facilities, childcare centers, orphanages, shelters, and refugee integration centers around the world. In 2015, the organization brought their global experience and Element of Play® curriculum to their own backyard in New York and New Jersey, realizing the issues children face overseas are no different than here in the United States.
Dr. Aronson will speak on the impact of Toy Libraries and how they are an invaluable tool—especially in communities experiencing trauma— in changing the trajectory of children’s lives through play. ICA LA will host a unique interactive exhibition and showcase an Element of Play® Toy Library as part of the museum’s Summer School at ICA LA initiative of exhibitions and programs. Educators will be on hand daily and special workshops will be open to all in our Learning Space and Annex Gallery. Please join us for an evening with The Orphan Doctor.
Dr. Jane Aronson is a pediatrician, adoption medicine specialist and the founder, CEO and President of Worldwide Orphans (WWO), a non-profit organization that provides direct services to orphans and at-risk children in Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Haiti, the United States and Vietnam. She has conducted medical missions to orphanages in 19 countries since 1989 and served over 130,000 children and families through her work with WWO. Dr. Aronson speaks all over the world advocating for orphans, including Tina Brown’s Women in the World and the Unite for Sight Global Health Conference at Yale University. Her awards include the Angel in Adoption Award, Glamour Woman of the Year, Time 100 Nominee, two World of Children Awards, CNN’s Champions for Change, Honored Alumna of Valley Stream North High School, Hunter College Hall of Fame, and Distinguished Alumna from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Aronson has written for Huffington Post Impact and is regularly featured in the media, including frequent guest appearances on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC and NPR and features in the New York Times, Financial Times, Newsweek, Newsday, New Yorker, Marie Claire, Elle, Glamour and People Magazine. She is a fierce child advocate and is privileged to be part of a world revolution to end violence against children (UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.2). She is the author of Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption - Inspiring Stories of Families Created across Continents. She is the parent of two sons through adoption: Benjamin from Vietnam and Desalegn from Ethiopia.