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Video: The Healing Power of Laughter

Scientific studies have shown a direct correlation between the use of humor and the diminishment of pain. In addition to easing tension and comforting others, comedy has been shown to help in various other medical and psychological ways, including combatting fear, reducing stress, and even boosting the immune system. Some hospitals now use “Comedy Rooms,” which encourage patients to use humor to recover from any illness/injury.

During this session, you will learn how humor has benefitted one survivor’s healing journey, hear from a healthcare provider on the power of laughter in the medical setting, and gain insight into the psychological benefits of humor in healing.

This is a recording from Phoenix World Burn Congress 2023.

Meet Your Speakers

Amy Pakes, RN, MS

Graduated from Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY in May 1984 with Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and Adelphi University, Garden City, NY in 2006 with Master of Science in Nursing Administration. Started nursing career in the Burn Center at Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow, NY in July 1984 and worked with burn patients, their families, and firefighters within the community for 33 years.  During these years, also served as the Nurse Manager of the Surgical ICU, Cardiac ICU, Medical ICU and Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care Treatment Center. In the Burn Center as an Assistant Nurse Manager and then Nurse Manager was a clinical resource to the nursing community developing educational programs on burn care, lectured at regional nursing conferences and senior nursing seminars and was the Burn Center liaison with the Nassau County Firefighters’ Burn Center Foundation. In 2012 collaborated with a family member of a burn survivor and the Phoenix Society to launch a SOAR Program at NUMC.  Currently retired and is a Board Member of the Nassau County Firefighter’s Burn Center Foundation.


Dan Gropper

Dan Gropper, burn survivor/quad amputee since December of 1989.  He’s a  peer supporter for fellow survivors, speaks/gives demonstrations to PT and OT students as well as doctors. Sits on the Nassau County advisory board to help improve the lives of the physically challenged.  He loves to travel, exercise, box, and plays golf, go to concerts and games.



Josh Gropper was introduced to the Phoenix Society over 30 years ago following a house fire involving his younger brother Danny.  He has served as a peer supporter, Phoenix SOAR program coordinator and Phoenix World Burn Congress speaker. He and his partner Kris are proud to be luminary partners of the Phoenix Society and he has been honored to assist burn survivors from all over the country.  


Mikki Rothbauer

Mikki Rothbauer is deeply passionate about working with burn and trauma survivors and feels privileged to be a part of each patient's healing process. She has been working with burn survivors for almost 20 years. Burn and trauma injuries affect the entire family, and she works closely with patients and their support system from the onset of injury as well as months and years after an injury. She emphasizes cognitive behavioral strategies to improve acute stress and PTSD symptoms. Her work has also focused on the areas of grief, loss, cosmetic differences, hidden burns/injuries, survivor's guilt, and survivors of work injuries. She enjoys working with patients of all ages and uses a collaborative, patient-driven approach to help individuals to get back to living their lives. Mikki facilitates burn support groups, coordinates a peer support program, and specializes in addressing body image and sexuality concerns during recovery. She feels it is a true privilege to be a part of her patients' and their loved ones' journeys through recovery after a traumatic injury. Mikki's published work includes research publications, articles, and chapters regarding trauma and burn recovery.