Jodie’s Prom at Duke Children’s Hospital to Be Held April 20

By Jon Wolseth, PhD

On the evening of April 20, the lobby of Duke Children’s Hospital will be transformed into a dance floor and party scene for the seventh annual Jodie’s Prom. 

Jodie’s Prom at Duke Children’s Hospital is a celebration of life for adolescents and young adults living with a chronic physical health condition. Organized by the ATLAS program in the Duke University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Jodie’s Prom gives young patients with severe health challenges an opportunity for a night of fun and laughter. It’s a welcome respite from their day-to-day roller coaster of hospitalizations, clinic visits, symptom flares, and isolation from their peers. 
Since 2017, more than 300 young patients and their families have made positive memories at Jodie’s Prom in the midst of living through some of their most difficult moments. Many pediatric patients desperately need the hope and optimism that participating in Jodie’s Prom can provide. 

Jodie’s Prom fosters a safe, supportive and celebratory environment for young patients, many of whom often miss out on typical milestones—including birthdays, holidays, family get-togethers, and even their own high school prom—while they’re in the hospital. For many young patients and their families, attending Jodie’s Prom is one of the few happy memories of this time; for some, it will be their last. 

This year, more than fifty Duke pediatrics patients and their families will join Duke Health providers, staff and volunteers for a night of joy on April 20, with an anticipated total of more than 120 attendees. Jodie’s Prom will be held in the atrium of the Duke Children’s Hospital to facilitate access to the event for young patients who are hospitalized. 

This year’s prom theme, chosen by Duke teen patients, is “All Around the World.” Attendees will be able to dance to music played by a DJ, visit booths representing eight stops around the world, snack on international foods, take photos with replicas of tourist sites, and join in fun activities. 

Jodie’s Prom is named in honor of Jodie Neukirch Elliot, a Duke clinical social worker, leader, and advocate who coordinated the prom at Duke Children’s Hospital from its inception in 2017 until her untimely death in 2022. Spearheaded by the Duke ATLAS team, a suite of programs providing peer support for teens and young adults living with chronic health conditions, Jodie’s Prom brings together volunteers from various clinics and departments at Duke Health and the Duke School of Medicine, as well as Duke students and community members.

This event is made possible by support from the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Pediatrics, and Duke Health. Major financial supporters include Meg’s Smile Foundation, the Duke Hospital Auxiliary, the Pratt Family Foundation, and the generous donations to the Jodie Neukirch Elliot Fund. Donations to prom can be made to Jodie’s Fund.

To inquire about Jodie’s Prom or ATLAS programming, please contact or 919-385-0842.