Dana Fern, OTR/L graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Women’s University with her major course of study in Occupational Therapy in conjunction with a minor in Psychology. For over 18 years she has enjoyed employment as a unit-based neonatal developmental specialist in several Level III-IV Newborn Intensive Care Units in Dallas, Texas and New York City. She has been successful in designing and implementing comprehensive developmentally supportive, family centered care programs in each of these NICU’s. Dana was recruited in 1996 by Children’s Medical Ventures to be one of the original team members to develop and implement the nationally recognized Wee Care Developmental Training Program. As a part of the Wee Care team for over seven years, she helped train NICU doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists along with ancillary staff in hospitals across the country and in Canada. The original Wee Care Program was presented as a clinically relevant, comprehensive program designed to teach the practice of developmentally supportive, family-centered care while providing realistic approaches toward its integration into daily practice. During this period, Dana also co-wrote, developed and presented the nationally recognized “Preemie For A Day” workshop. For the past 15 years, Dana has presented numerous times at universities, hospitals and national conferences on a variety of aspects surrounding developmentally supportive care, premature and fragile infant bottle and breast feeding techniques, therapeutic intervention, infant positioning, handling and family-centered care. Dana is especially proud to have been co-founder and partner of Creative Therapy Consultants (CTC) from 2001 – 2010. CTC was founded as a therapist owned and driven consulting business to offer nationwide bedside training, mentoring and full educational programs for healthcare providers in the NICU. Consequently, it served as a leader in this model of teaching developmental care, infant feeding and therapist/healthcare provider NICU training for over 10 years. Currently, Dana is now the founder and sole owner of eat*learn*play; a private practice and educationally based service that has expanded on the role of CTC to incorporate her added expertise in the infant and child post discharge. Dana’s own extensive training includes competency in infant/pediatric modified barium swallow studies along with:
Advanced Practice Certification:
● Neonatal Oral Motor Assessment Scale (NOMAS)
● Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP)
● RTS (Resolve Through Sharing) bereavement counselor
Fern D, Graves C, L’Huiller M (2002). Swaddled Bathing in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Newborn and Infants Nursing Reviews, 2(1), 3-4.
Fern D, (1999). Developmentally Appropriate Positioning, Nationally distributed poster, Boston, MA; Children’s Medical Ventures.
Fern D, (1999). Your Guide to Swaddled Bathing, a booklet for parents and staff, available internationally. Boston, MA; Children’s Medical Ventures.
Fern D, (1999). Baby Steps, a bedside checklist for parents in the NICU, Available internationally. Boston, MA; Children’s Medical Ventures.
Fern D, Graves C (1995). Developmental Care for Families With Infants in the NICU, available internationally in English and Spanish, Boston, MA; Children’s Medical Ventures.
Fern D, Graves C (1995). Neonatal Home Health in the Continuum of Care, AOTA Home Health SIS, 2(3).
● (Inventor) The Tiny Tub™ and infant swaddle cloth, a premature infant bathtub designed for swaddled bathing in the hospital and at home. It is currently available to NICU’s and hospital nurseries internationally through Children’s Medical Ventures.
● (Author) A NeuroDevelopmental Care Guide to Positioning and Handling the Premature, Fragile or Sick Infant; Supporting Infant Development A detailed guide for hospital and home caregivers.
In September of 2000, Dana relocated to NYC from Dallas, Texas in order to add and pursue a new professional direction with more emphasis on serving the 0-3 year old pediatric population and NICU graduates with feeding issues and the need for pediatric occupational therapy. For the past 11 years in NYC, she has had the privilege of working with countless infants, toddlers and their families in a variety of settings which include private homes, the NICU, the Special Care Nursery, the Lenox Hill Neonatal Developmental Follow Up Program and in her private office. In 2011, Dana founded and is sole owner of eat * learn * play (eatlearnplay.com), a private pediatric OT practice and NICU educational consulting business based out of NYC.
Dana Fern, OTR/L continues to live and work in New York City. She has a thriving private practice (specialty area in feeding difficulties with NICU graduates and the pediatric population) on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, works at Lenox Hill Hospital as a bedside NICU therapist and provides program development for Developmental Care and the Neonatal Developmental Follow Up Program. Dana is a NICU Developmental Specialist Consultant and Pediatric Occupational Therapist with a special interest in feeding issues and developmental care of the preterm and fragile infant/child. She continues to be available as a private clinical therapist, an educator, lecturer and NICU private consultant.