Hi everyone,

My name is Brittany Blockman, and I am a resident pediatrician in UCSF’s Pediatric Leadership for the Underserved program.  I would like to let you all know about COMMUNITAS, a free new program I am piloting to support 12-19 year-olds living with life-altering chronic conditions and their parents. Our first session will be Saturday, January 18th, 2014, at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

WHAT:  The mission of Communitas is to…

·   Empower chronically ill teens and their parents with mind-body skills to improve coping and reduce illness-associated stress and mental distress, with the ultimate goal of fostering resilience in the face of adversity.

·   Facilitate peer support and sharing to promote engagement with a diagnosis, emotional support, self-awareness, and a sense of connectedness.

·   Provide a forum for discussion of the more practical aspects of navigating the health system and chronic illness during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

The workshops will consist of a lesson on a mind-body technique, an experiential exercise, and an opportunity for sharing in a group.  The techniques taught will include: relaxation techniques, biofeedback, meditation, breathing techniques, mindfulness, positive reappraisal, guided imagery/visualization, movement, journaling, mindful nutrition, and storytelling through images. The emphasis will be on self-care techniques that can be practiced anywhere.



·      First session Saturday, January 18th, 2014, at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, 1545 Divisadero and Post St.

·      After that, the program will meet on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month from 10AM – 12PM for 10 sessions: Feb 1, 15; March 1, 15; April 5, 19; May 3, 17; June 7

·      Parking or public transportation fees and a healthy lunch will be provided.


  • English-speaking patients, 12-19 years of age.
  • Diagnosed at least 3 months prior to start of the program (Jan 2014) with a life-altering chronic or life-limiting physical illness.
  • Receive primary or specialty care at one of the UCSF-affiliated sites or San Francisco General Hospital.
  • Live in the SF bay area, temporarily living in the Bay Area for illness treatment for the time period of January 18, 2014 – June 7, 2014, or willing to travel to the Osher Center twice a month for the program.
  • Participants should be cognitively intact enough to be able to participate in the program in a meaningful way. The program involves sharing verbally in a group and some didactic sessions.  It also involves expression through writing/drawing.  Our staff can offer assistance with drawing and writing if needed.
  • Parent(s) interested in participating in a simultaneous program at the same location and time.
  • Patient and parent(s) willing to commit to attending the program on a regular basis and participate in the activities.  It is ok to miss 2-3 sessions if needed but not the first or last sessions.


Send an email to our program communitasprogram@gmail.com and we will set up a convenient time to discuss the program by phone.  Please contact us as soon as possible to secure a spot!


1.  You can approach families who you think might be interested and email me their contact info with their permission. I will then email them to set up a phone conversation to further discuss the program and eligibility.  I they do not have email, a phone number will work just fine.

2.  Or you can give families our program email communitasprogram@gmail.com and they can decide whether to inquire further.


All the Best,

Brittany Blockman

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