USC Price grad clowns around to help hospital patients

Phong Doon

Phong Doozy shows up to work in an unusual uniform: a sleeveless Hawaiian blazer full of flamingos, pink pig ears, shorts covered in flowers, and a red clown’s nose. 

For five hours on Fridays, the student at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy transforms into a medical clown. Doozy, a soon-to-be Master of Health Administration, is tasked with using laughter as medicine, putting smiles on the faces of those facing serious injuries or terminal illnesses.

During one trip to the Los Angeles General Medical Center, Doozy visited an 8-year-old boy with severe burns covering more than half of his body. Moving was painful, but doctors needed the child to lift his arms so they could rub ointment on him. 

“Oh my gosh, we’re on a roller coaster!” Doozy exclaimed, raising his arms skyward as if he was about to plunge down a steep drop. The boy mimicked the clown, allowing doctors to apply ointment. 

“We have to initiate ideas to allow kids to enter the world of play and willingly help themselves and help the doctors provide the best care to their ability,” Doozy said.

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