THE JODIE NEUKIRCH ELLIOTT FUND
This fund supports programs for young adults living with chronic conditions including the Adolescents Transitioning to Leadership and Success (ATLAS) programs and the annual Jodie’s Prom event at Duke Children's Hospital.
CELEBRATING JODIE'S LIFE AND LEGACY
Jodie Neukirch Elliott, MSW, passed away at the age of 39 in August 2022. Throughout her life, Jodie used her personal experience with congenital heart disease and deep commitment to young people with chronic health conditions to create interventions and support models, directly help youth as a therapist, and mentor the next generation of healthcare transition practitioners and researchers.
Jodie’s legacy lives on through the healthcare programs she led, developed and championed to support children and young adults with chronic medical conditions. As a Clinical Social Worker and the Clinical Director of Adolescents Transitioning to Leadership and Success (ATLAS) at Duke University, Jodie managed multiple programs for young adults with chronic health conditions and served as chair of the Duke University Healthcare Transition Taskforce. These programs include:
- ATLAS Leadership – A peer mentoring program in which high school students receive group mentoring monthly with college-aged peers also navigating the challenges of chronic health conditions.
- ATLAS LEAP (Leadership, Experience, Advocacy and Progress) – A new peer support program for individuals between the ages of 18-28 that provides peer mentoring similar to ATLAS Leadership, helping young adults move towards independence and into adult healthcare.
- ATLAS Campference – A four-day summer leadership program (part camp and part conference) for adolescents and young adults with chronic health conditions.
- Peer coaching programs and related research – PiCASO (National Institutes of Health study on self-management of chronic health conditions), CHASM (young adults with congenital heart disease) and Bobby’s Coaches (young adults with cancer).
These programs, along with the curriculum and methods Jodie developed over the course of her career for peer mentoring and healthcare transition, are nationally recognized and have served as a model for similar programs across the country. Her lasting impact will be felt in the coming years as the thousands of young people and families supported by these programs go out and make the world a better place, as Jodie did. She made countless children and young adults with chronic illness believe that they, too, could live fulfilling and meaningful lives, and pursue all their dreams despite the challenges of their health conditions. She was a role model and beacon of light to innumerable patients, colleagues, friends and family members.
Jodie’s work will be celebrated annually with the recently renamed Jodie's Prom at Duke Children's Hospital, an event she organized for several years. After Jodie's heart transplant, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022, she transformed this in-person event into a virtual prom, leading a team to put together virtual festivities that brought together hundreds of young people with chronic conditions and their families across North Carolina. For the virtual prom, she engaged diverse partners for creating videos, including Broadway dancers, musicians, and even the lemurs from the Duke Lemur Center. Watch the Retro Prom 2022 recap below for a small sample of the joy Jodie brought into so many people’s lives, and read more about her legacy in this Duke Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences article announcing Jodie's Prom.
Prior to joining the Duke University team in 2017, Jodie worked at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, where she was a Clinical Social Worker and longtime Program Director of The Adolescent Leadership Council (TALC), an award-winning transition-focused program serving dozens of teens with chronic illness, their parents, and college-aged mentors. She received a Promising Practice Award for Promoting Adolescents’ Strengths from the American Academy of Pediatrics (2012) in recognition of her leadership of the TALC program, and a Brite Lite Award from Hasbro Children’s Hospital (2012) for her exceptional patient care. She co-authored dozens of academic publications, journal articles and peer-reviewed presentations.
Jodie was born in Chicago and was a graduate of Dartmouth College (2005), the University of Washington’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Pathobiology (2008), and Boston University’s School of Social Work (2015), where she received the Carolyn Jacobs Prize, presented annually to an outstanding graduate student with a commitment to social work practice in health care. It was at Dartmouth, at the age of 18, that Jodie began to develop her passion for youth health care transition work. As a young person with congenital heart disease transitioning to college, Jodie became a leader of the Steps Towards Adult Responsibility (STAR) program, which brought together college and high school students with chronic conditions.
Throughout her life, Jodie strived to develop models for and provide support to adolescents and young adults growing up with chronic health conditions. Her energy and passion for this work lives on through the ATLAS programs at Duke, other programs modeled after this work across the country, and the hundreds of colleagues and students with whom she worked over her 20-year career. Throughout her life, she was defined by so much more than her heart disease—she was a brilliant scholar and mentor, a talented swing and blues dancer, a compassionate therapist, an artistic quiltmaker, and a “heart health hero” recognized nationally at the Woman's Day Red Dress Awards (2010). Jodie’s personal story about the importance of the Affordable Care Act for patients like her with pre-existing conditions was shared online by then-presidential nominee Joe Biden (2020). She always set her goals high and her dreams even higher, achieving many of those dreams with her boundless energy, ambition and care for others. All who were fortunate enough to know Jodie have been forever changed for the better.
JODIE'S MEMORIAL SITE
To view the original memorial website built by Jodie's family, visit memorial.jodiesfund.org
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