Why Dr. Collins is Dancing
He admits to being more comfortable in an emergency room than a ballroom, but Robert Collins, M.D., is happily stepping into dance shoes to help Riley.
Dr. Collins is one of the celebrity dancers helping raise funds for Riley through the Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope ballroom dance competition on Friday, March 9. (He and his dance partner got a chance to show off their zombie-themed dance at a recent preview night!)
Dr. Collins is the former Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Riley Hospital for Children. Today he works part time in the Riley Emergency Department and rounds out his clinical duties in a community setting at IU Health Saxony and Tipton Emergency Departments.
Q: Is there any dance in your background? How challenging has it been to learn the choreography?
A: I am by no means a dancer. It’s so far from my comfort zone. The only dance experience I had was taking dance lessons so I didn’t make a fool out of myself at our wedding. When I go to work in emergency rooms, my work has its challenges but at least I know what I’m doing. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I got into this! But it has been quite a bit of fun. My wife and her family really enjoy dance. This experience has given me an opportunity to learn, and honestly I’ve really enjoyed it. The professional dancer I’m working with, Kathleen Ilo, has been outstanding and very patient. If nothing else, when I practice my dancing at home it’s pure entertainment for my adolescent daughters. I am giving them lots of chances to laugh at their dad and I know they appreciate that.
Q: Why did you decide to participate as a celebrity dancer in Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope?
A: The most important reason I said “yes” was the chance to benefit the care of patients here in Central Indiana. I can do that in very direct ways through my work as a physician in emergency departments, but there is more to patient care than my presence in the room. This year, the funds we are raising through Reason to Dance go toward the Riley Child Life program and the Wells Center for Pediatric Research, both of which I feel strongly about and am happy to support. I see the benefits of Child Life directly in the emergency department. Child Life Specialists provide distraction and comfort to sick and injured kids. They ease pain and suffering when a child is going through something traumatic or challenging. They don’t bill families for their services or generate any funds―Riley relies on philanthropic efforts like this to keep the Child Life program going. And in terms of the Wells Center for Pediatric Research, one of the things that drives us is improving care for children moving forward. When we support the research being done right on the Riley campus, we are helping take medical knowledge to the next level, and that’s how we can design better treatments for kids.
Q: Why is it important to you to see the community supporting Riley?
A: Riley serves so many different purposes. It’s the one comprehensive place in the state of Indiana where a child can go when they are really sick and in need of services. It is such an invaluable resource to everybody in the state, whether it’s your own child, a grandchild, a neighbor or a fellow student in school. The services at Riley that we’re supporting through Reason to Dance are critical to Riley’s mission. If you donate, you’re supporting actual care of children today, and also helping the research team make improvements in the way care is delivered for the years to come.
To learn more about Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope, or to make a gift in support of Dr. Collins’ fundraising goal, click here.
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