Meet Our Team
Joanna Formont, LMHC
Executive Director SIBSPlace / Child & Family Life
Joanna Formont is a licensed mental health counselor and has been employed at SIBSPlace for Mount Sinai South Nassau since 2004. Assistant Director of SIBSPlace, Ms. Formont graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Teachers College, Columbia University with a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology. She has provided individual and group services to children and families in crisis for over 18 years.
Ms. Formont coordinates the development and implementation of an activities based curriculum for children's anticipatory grief and bereavement programming. She co-facilitates the verbal activity groups and started a teen support group to help address the needs of the older child. Ms. Formont also assists with bereavement groups as needed. She contributes to planning and co-facilitates on and off site activities and events and provides support and guidance to program participants. Ms. Formont oversees participant and volunteer records, completes intake, and monitors monthly outreach. She assists Executive Director in format development of quarterly newsletter and with additional administrative tasks, including overseeing and managing social media platforms. Ms. Formont assisted the World Trade Center Family Center by providing client and outreach services. In 2011 Ms. Formont co-authored Staying Afloat- A Support Guide to Help Parents and Well Siblings Cope with Family Illness. She is currently a member of the SIBSPlace, Inc. Board.
Ms. Formont also co-facilitates community education trainings on siblings' response to illness and anxiety management in children. She co-authored poster presentations on the impact of a devastating illness on the well sibling for the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies Conferences: 2005 in Toronto, Canada and 2006 in Los Angeles, California. In 2013 she co-facilitated a workshop at the National Alliance for Children's Grief in Phoenix, Arizona, provided an educational training for the Mental Health Association at Hofstra University and was keynote at the Sudden Infant and Child Death Resource Center in Manhattan. In 2015, Ms. Formont co-presented at SNCH's Nursing Grand Rounds about SIBSPlace and the psychosocial impact illness has on the well child in a family. Ms. Formont co-presented on the benefit of peer support groups for the well child in a family in 2016 at the Mental Health Association of Nassau County and International Association for Social Work with Groups Conference at New York University. She presented at both SNCH's Mental Health and Medical Grand Rounds on the impact of traumatic medical illness on the family system. She also highlighted the needs of the well child at the Association for Pediatric Hematology Oncology Education Specialists/Association for the Education of Children with Medical Illness Conference at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2017, she co-presented once again at the Mental Health Association of Nassau County on the impact of bereavement on a child and family system.
Kerri L. Wagner, MA, CAT
Child & Family Life Specialist SIBSPlace
Kerri L. Wagner is the Child & Family Life Specialist for SIBSPlace/Mount Sinai South Nassau. She received her BA in Early Childhood, Elementary and Art Education, SUNY College at Cortland, 1979 and her Master of Arts, Creative Arts Therapies, Hofstra University, 1982. Her diversified background in art therapy and Child Life prepared her for her position as art therapist at SIBS. Since 2008 she has helped create and facilitate therapeutic art directives for children and adolescents who have a sibling or parent with a life threatening illness. In addition she co-facilitates SIBS bereavement support groups and provides Child & Family Life services throughout many departments in the hospital.
Ms. Wagner advocates for children and focuses on family centered care through the work she provides across the SNCH campus. In 2014, she began training medical/nursing staff and medical/nursing students on the benefits of Child & Family Life services within a hospital setting. As part of her South Nassau responsibilities she offers a sibling support group at St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Bayside. In March 2015, Ms. Wagner co-presented at SNCH's Nursing Grand Rounds about SIBSPlace/Child Life and the impact illness has on children.
Ms. Wagner co-presented in 2016 at SNCH's Medical Grand Rounds on the impact of hospitalization and traumatic medical illness on the family system. Creatively, she has initiated an annual inter-departmental hospital-wide project to heighten awareness of SNCH's Child & Family Life services. In 2017, Ms. Wagner was selected to receive the Town of Hempstead's Pathfinder Award for her outstanding work in Health Services and her ongoing commitment to children and families. Educational presentations and achievements include: Pediatric Unit Based Council, SNCH "The Role of the Child & Family Life Specialist in the Hospital Setting" 2013; Press Coverage, "Child Life Interventions With International Pediatric Patients" 2012, 2013; Nursing Rounds, SNCH "The Role of the Child & Family Life Specialist in the Hospital Setting" 2013; LIHN Annual Symposium Poster Presentation, Nassau County, "HELP, Hospitals Empowering Lifelines Through Peers" 2013; Professional Development Workshops, NYC, "Preparing Children for Hospitalization and Health Care Encounters" 1982-1986; Photo Documentary, NYC, "The Realities of Hospitalization for Children and the Benefits of Child Life" 1981.
Susanne E. Bennett, LMSW
Susanne E. Bennett is a licensed social worker who received her graduate degree with a clinical concentration in Children and Families from Fordham University and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Alpha Society for Social Work. Ms. Bennett comes to SIBSPlace with a varied background. After a career in investment banking and a breadth of community volunteer work with children, Ms. Bennett had the outstanding opportunity to intern at Mount Sinai South Nassau in the Medical/Surgical Oncology Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Critical Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit, and Transitional Care Unit. This vast experience was followed by an internship at SIBSPlace where she learned and refined the skills that would help her to fulfill the mission of the social work profession, which is to enhance the well-being of others.
Ms. Bennett began her professional career at SIBSPlace as Coordinator in January 2020. She brings with her a strengths-based perspective and utilizes an ecological lens focusing on the unique micro, mezzo, and macro systems that each child is involved with. She assists with programmatic and administrative tasks at SIBSPlace. Her job responsibilities include planning and facilitating therapeutic support services for children and their families impacted by traumatic medical illness and those who have experienced the loss of a family member. She is accountable for promoting community awareness by assisting with outreach, social media, and public relations, as well as budget monitoring and supporting fundraising activities.
Ms. Bennett is thrilled to be a part of the SIBSPlace team assisting children with a seriously ill parent or sibling and bereaved children to enhance their emotional identification, communication and coping skills. She looks forward to contributing to the continued growth of SIBSPlace as it expands its reach to provide more children and their families with a place where they are empowered through therapeutic activities and groups that foster resilience. She is proud to work at a place where children truly matter most!
Lauren Cummings is a licensed social worker who received her graduate degree from Adelphi University in 2013. Ms. Cummings’ background includes working with children, adolescents and their families who were involved with child protective services. Her role was to prevent children from being placed out of their homes and to provide emotional support to deal with many life challenges including financial, substance abuse, the anticipation of being removed from their homes, the removal from their homes and the loss of a family member. She assisted children in exploring the multitude of feelings that resulted from their difficult life circumstances and challenges.
Ms. Cummings began working at SIBS Place as an Assistant Coordinator in February of 2018. Her job responsibilities include creating a therapeutic curriculum for the young children’s feelings group and coordinating recreational activities throughout the year including scheduling activities for the SIBS summer camp. She recognizes the importance of helping children to identify and express their feelings and develop positive coping skills and self-esteem and is passionate about working with this population. Ms. Cummings is also responsible for community outreach and awareness and overseeing volunteers. She looks forward to participating in the continued growth of the SIBS Place program.