Retired Professor, UC Alumna Receives Prestigious Award

Civita Brown

Years of Hard Work and Dedication Being Recognized by ACLP

Civita Brown, a Utica College alumna and retired psychology/child life internship coordinator and adjunct professor, is the recipient of this year's Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) Distinguished Service Award. 

The prestigious award has been given since 1988 and honors members of the ACLP based on their work in the field, experience, leadership and integrity. It is the highest level award given by the ACLP.  

Brown graduated from Utica College in 1969 with her degree in social studies, before returning in 1977 as the first student in the psychology-child life program. She became an adjunct professor in psychology-child life in 1986 where she remained for several years before becoming the internship coordinator for the program, eventually retiring in 2015. She also went on to do graduate work in education, secondary education, and special education. 

Brown brought her work out into the world when she established the child life program at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in 1978, mentored by Dr. Richard Thompson. In 2003 she introduced the first program to provide comprehensive child life services in the Sauquoit Valley school district elementary school and community wellness center. 

The ACLP’s primary goal is to make sure all children have access to educational and stimulating programs and developmental care. These activities allow healthcare professionals to provide therapeutic play and intervention to help children with stress and anxiety and keep them socially active. The field has transformed over the years and is now more intensive than ever, thanks to professionals like Brown. ACLP provides assistance to children in many different health and wellness related circumstances, including in-patient services, behavioral facilities, emergency departments, home health and camps for children. 

The psychology-child life major program at Utica College is a bachelor’s degree where students learn to provide proper psychological care for children. The program at Utica College has also been awarded the ACLP Distinguished Service award. Many schools work with the UC program to provide students with hands-on experience both prior to, and after, completing their degree. Students leave the school prepared for a wide range of career opportunities in several fields including healthcare, child care, schools and human services.

For more information, please visit:

Psychology-Child Life program 

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