Clinical Perspective: Jen Basch, LCSW

Every day — and especially this Child Life and Social Work Month — we are proud to work with incredible clinicians, both on our staff and in our community. The network of child life specialists and social workers around the country help get more kids in the game by introducing families to our program..

This month, we sat down with some of our most dedicated child life specialist and social workers from around the country to talk about their experience with Team IMPACT and why they trust their patients and families to Team IMPACT.

Jen Basch is a clinical social worker on the Pediatric Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Unit at NYP Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. She recently moved from California to New York City and wasted no time introducing her new patients and their families to Team IMPACT.

My name is Jen Basch, and I have been working with pediatric heart transplant patients for five years. My exposure to the transplant population began in 2016 when I had my social work internship at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in pediatric liver and intestinal transplant. I eventually was able to secure a job in heart transplant at UCLA where I worked with this population for more than four years. I decided to make a big move to New York City in June 2022. I was fortunate to be able to continue my passion of working with this population and am now the heart transplant and heart failure social worker at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian. 

I realized at a young age that I am very passionate about social injustice. With further exploration, I came to find that what ignites a fire in me most is the impact facing a health diagnosis has on patients and their whole family. Over the years, I came to find that most personal experiences are not things that can be grasped by others through explanation — they have to be felt. This notion sparked my motivation to find ways to help this population not only share their stories, but to also feel listened to, to feel heard, and to find their way back to a new normal.

Team IMPACT is exactly what my patients and families need. My job entails many things, but a huge part is to help patients and families see any light in the dark. Team IMPACT is that light. Giving patients and families something to look forward to or a goal to work towards are the things that can build them back up, help them keep fighting, and remind them why they’re fighting in the first place.

Many of my patients are still fairly early in their Team IMPACT experience, so much of the excitement is still to come. But even talking about connecting them to Team IMPACT puts a smile on my patients’ and families’ faces. This is more than enough for me, and it is only the beginning!

Team IMPACT is just what the doctor ordered. The program provides a tangible clinical impact and is quite literally allowing me to extend my own interventions. Having something like Team IMPACT to offer my patients and families allows me to have another tool in my toolkit to use to help them have something to be excited about. Showing families that I can connect them to this wonderful program can help me build rapport with patients and families that might have their walls up, which then allows me just a few more inches of access into their world so that I can better understand them, and eventually better support them. Offering patients and families something that will provide mentoring, life-changing experiences and friendships, further their development in social skills, and most importantly be fun goes far beyond what I can offer on my own.

When a patient is able to get their new heart, the hope isn’t just that it keeps beating, it’s that they can use it to fall in love, to travel the world, and to get that second chance at life that they deserve. We hope that most of their days are filled with laughter, excitement, love, adventure, and so much more. Team IMPACT is a huge way for us to ensure these things will happen. Keep up the inspiring work, we are lucky this program exists!