To address each of the varying needs of this group, we have assembled a superb team of highly skilled medical specialists, organizers and leaders with extensive experience caring for these children who will accompany the children on each trip. This core group has worked and trained together caring for this specific population for the last ten years.
Stuart Ditchek, M.D.
“Dr. D,” as he is affectionately called by his patients, acts as medical director of Kids of Courage after being the medical director of a sleep away camp for children with serious, chronic and life-threatening illnesses for eight years. He is a board-certified pediatrician with over twenty years experience, an attending physician and faculty member of the New York University school of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and a recognized expert in the care of high risk children and young adults.
Michael Harris, M.D.
Dr. Harris works closely with Dr. Stuart Ditchek to coordinate the best quality of care and medical supervision for the participants of Kids of Courage. Dr. Harris brings many years of experience and compassion to our medical team. He also has extensive experience in overnight camping and recreational programs for children with cancer and blood disorders.
Dr. Harris is currently the director of Tomorrow Children's Institute and chief of the division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center.
He is also Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - New Jersey Medical School. He is board certified in both pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology. We welcome his great enthusiasm and appreciation for his expertise, love and compassion.
Ari has been intricately involved in the care and treatment of each of these special children and has won their trust and affection. His passion, love and caring are integral driving forces behind this unique program. As the leader of each trip, Ari will plan every minute detail, coordinate transportation from around the country and also manage the staff of counselors and support personnel.
Howie has more than ten years of experience as a paramedic. He has served as camp Chief Paramedic for the past four years, and is skilled in advanced life savings techniques and respiratory equipment for oxygen dependent children. He is currently on the medical board of a volunteer ambulance corp where he coordinates the continuing medical education (CME) for paramedics.
Sara Miriam Kaplan, R.N.
Sara is a senior staff nurse at Beth Israel Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics and the charge nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She is certified in advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support. She has more than ten years of experience in pediatric critical care and eleven years as senior medical staff under Dr. D at camp.
Robert C. Bocian, MD, PhD, FAAAAI
"Dr. Bo," has been a physician at the same sleep-away camp for children with serious, chronic and life-threatening illnesses at which "Dr. D" has been medical director. He is a board-certified pediatric and adult allergist-immunologist with over 20 years experience, and an attending physician and faculty member of Stanford University School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. He is also head of the Department of Allergy and Immunology at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and a recognized expert in the care of high-risk children and adults with acute and chronic respiratory conditions. He is an author of a number of clinical and basic-research publications in allergy and immunology.
Ari has always been an entertainer at heart. His skills in entertaining, programming and leading activities have put many smiles on the faces of the children. Ari is supported by his unique network of celebrities, sportsmen, movie-stars, magicians, pop-stars and others, who are always willing to show up whenever the kids are in need of a shot of happiness. His years of experience as a leader in camp have made him an expert in his field.
plus.... dozens of volunteers and partners in every field who make Kids of Courage possible!