Jill Chambers, an occupational therapist for Children’s Therapy Services (CTS) at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH), is passionate about helping kids who have special needs. When she learned of a large and growing body of evidence that supports the use of smartwatches to encourage healthy habits—including self-regulation, nutrition, physical activity and sleep—Chambers knew she had to find a way to add smartwatches to the CTS toolbox.

Chambers applied for an award from Women Investing in Strategies for Health (WISH). She hoped the giving circle would see her idea as a perfect fit for its mission to seed health care innovation in northern Colorado. Her wish was granted, and CTS received an award to purchase 10 smartwatches.

Therapists lend the watches to clients ages 8 and up to help these kids with skill acquisition and with long-term integration of the skills learned into daily life. The first watch checkout occurred on March 3. Chambers said she has already seen exciting results when using the smartwatches in sessions to guide calming techniques. Clients are visibly able to calm themselves with no outside support besides the watches’ Breathe app, which guides a cycle of deep breaths.

“At CTS, we seek to improve lives, and many times this requires flexible and creative thinking about problems and solutions,” Chambers said. “Smartwatches are one of these creative solutions that will provide support to a large range of our clients and have the potential to provide support to our clients even while they are outside of our clinic.

“We are extremely grateful to WISH and the foundation for their support of CTS. We wish you all could see the clients you have positively impacted with your donations. We see the fruits of WISH’s support in our clinic every day.”

In its eight years of existence, WISH has awarded over $435,000 to 117 local health programs and services of UCHealth. This year, the group awarded $68,145 to 19 programs.

Learn about the other 18 WISH awards for 2021, and find out more about WISH and how you can join or sponsor: uchealthnocofoundation.org/wish.