Psychologist Lindsay Zajac Adams Named POPPIES Award Winner

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Zajac Adams Poppie Award Lindsay Zajac Adams, PhD, a pediatric psychologist with the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), was the November 2022 recipient of the monthly POPPIES Award.

The POPPIES Award is designed to recognize CHOP staff members who demonstrate support to nurses and the Power of Positive People in Excellent Service (POPPIES). The POPPIES Award was created in conjunction with the DAISY Award for outstanding nursing care, as nurses cannot do what they do without the outstanding teamwork provided by other healthcare professionals.

Patients, visitors and all CHOP employees may nominate a deserving staff member who they believe has provided excellent service. Each month, CHOP selects a winner who embodies the principles of the award.

Dr. Zajac received her nomination from a patient family that faced a prenatal diagnosis of a birth defect. The nomination, shown below, detailed the support Lindsay provided during the family’s prenatal appointments at the Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment (CFDT), their child’s birth in the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, and the baby’s stay in CHOP’s Harriet and Ronald Lassin Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU).

“My journey to CHOP started with a 20-week ultrasound to determine the severity of my son’s congenital diaphragmatic hernia. He is now 3 months old in the [N/IICU] and still has a long journey ahead of him.

Throughout my time here, we have met countless nurses, respiratory therapists, doctors, nurse practitioners, speech therapists, and social workers. One person who has remained a constant is our licensed psychologist, Lindsay Adams.

Prior to being admitted, Lindsay met with [me and my partner] to discuss our fears and concerns with having a medically complicated child. Lindsay was there the day I was admitted to the SDU with knitting supplies, coloring activities, card games and a listening ear to help us pass the time. After [my son’s] birth, she helped us process how sick he really was and gave us countless strategies to practice to ground ourselves. An example of this was extreme anxiety I had in regard to holding [my son when he was] intubated. I was in constant fear that I was going to hurt [him] or knock his tube out. Lindsay always knew when to encourage me to try again and even offered to sit with me while I hold him for extra comfort. Eventually, she helped me move past this fear and create a meaningful bond with [my son]. Now I have the opposite problem, he never gets put down!

My visits with Lindsay today look very different than they did in the beginning. She still has an amazing listening ear and great advice, but she also gives me book and podcast recommendations to help pass the long days. (I highly recommend Option B if you have not read it!) During our weekly sessions, we used to discuss ‘IF’ [my son] would make it home, and now (thanks to everyone at CHOP) we discuss ‘WHEN’ he makes it home. She deserves the POPPIES Award and all the positive recognition because she gave me tools to go on living when I could no longer function. I cannot thank Lindsay enough for continuing to help [us] during our darkest of times.”

We are proud and grateful to have staff members like Lindsay, whose exceptional service, compassionate care, and hard work supports families and inspires our entire team.

Dr. Zajac and the psychosocial team are integral to our ability to provide continuity of care to patients and families throughout their journey at CHOP. Her role in the CFDT, N/IICU and Infant Transitional Care Unit (a step-down unit for N/IICU surgical patients) includes:

  • Assessing and treating perinatal mood symptoms among parents who receive a fetal diagnosis
  • Introducing coping strategies to promote mood, stress management, and interpersonal effectiveness in the context of a fetal diagnosis, medical procedures or birth
  • Providing anticipatory guidance for the transition to parenting in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), newborn attachment and bonding
  • Collaborating with developmental therapists to create holding plans for intubated babies and decrease parent anxiety regarding holding in the intensive care unit setting 
  • Partnering with parents to create coping plans to decrease anxiety around patient surgeries and encourage advocacy and self-care strategies
  • Collaborating with occupational therapists, physical therapists, child life specialists and music therapists during multidisciplinary developmental rounds to establish comprehensive therapy services and address parents’ developmental concerns for their infant/newborn
  • Developing parent-baby support group with a focus on newborn care, injury prevention education and nursing

Dr. Zajac is also part of a multidisciplinary quality improvement project called Building Babies’ Brains. The goal of this project is to increase positive development for infants in the N/IICU, in partnership with parents.

She also helped create educational materials that are given to parents during their tour of the N/IICU that include the information found on these web pages: 

Screenshot of CFDT tour video

Tour our Fetal Center

Watch this video tour to learn what to expect at your first visit to the Wood Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment.

Pregnant Mom and Child

What to Expect

From the moment of referral through delivery and postnatal care, your family can expect a supportive experience when you come to us with a diagnosis of a birth defect.