An English adage says, "laughter is the best medicine". In these troubling times, good humour is in need more than ever. Doctors and medical staff are taking heed of this and incorporating it into their care treatments. One product of this is the emergence of clown doctors and healthcare clowns in hospitals around the globe. There is even an organisation that sets standards. The European Federation of Healthcare Clowns Organisations was established in 2011. It says: "Healthcare clowns bring moments of happiness and distraction to children who are ill or who have special needs....Clowns also bring smiles to vulnerable adults, including seniors and people with dementia who are in hospital care."
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Healthcare clowns are becoming especially popular in Israel, which is considered a world leader in the field. The first university ever to offer a Bachelor's degree in medical clowning was Haifa University, in 2007. One healthcare clown in Jerusalem, Leah Weiss, decided to divert her inner clown to help patients after a COVID-19 ward opened in March. She said she knew the clown in her would have therapeutic benefits for her patients. She wants to reduce their anxiety and improve their wellbeing. She enjoys working alongside doctors and said: "Obviously, the doctors, they take care of the body. And we come in and take care of the soul. And it integrates together - the doctors understand this."