Support for Burn Survivors

Burn injuries can be devastating. You may experience physical, emotional, social and financial challenges associated with an injury you or a loved one has sustained.

UC San Diego Health treats all San Diego County and Imperial County residents for severe burns at our Regional Burn Center. We also work with your family and caregivers to restore your life, offering support in a nurturing and compassionate environment.

Here are some free programs to encourage, inform and bring together burn survivors.

Support for Children & Teens

Youth Programs

Our Child Life Services specialists help your child navigate the hospital experience. We host activities, outings and events for kids in the rehabilitation phase of their burn recovery and beyond. Our youth programs provide a therapeutic, recreational and safe setting for children to be together, find support and have fun throughout the year.

Programs include but are not limited to:

  • Beach outings
  • Field trips to entertainment parks
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Movie nights

Please email Kate Hamelin if you and your child would like to receive information about upcoming activities.

Check Other Support Resources

School Re-Entry Program

Our School Re-Entry Program helps children returning to school after sustaining a burn injury by preparing classmates and teachers for the child’s return.

This program intends to help classmates and teachers:

  • Understand more about burns and burn prevention
  • Encourage accepting behavior toward the burn survivor
  • Provide an opportunity for classmates to express their feelings about the child's injury

See Child Life Services

Support for Adults

For more information about these free support programs for adults, email Linda Colarusso.


Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) is a national survivor support program developed by health care professionals and burn survivors. This program — recommended by the American Burn Association — facilitates one-on-one support for burn survivors and loved ones affected by burn injury.

Peer support volunteers offer an opportunity to speak with someone who has traveled a similar journey. You can share your experience and help other burn survivors and their families get tips on how to navigate the road to recovery.

Volunteers, who are trained by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, must meet certain requirements. You should:

  • Be at least one year after discharge from the hospital
  • Complete an application
  • Interview with a Regional Burn Center psychologist and staff

Potential SOAR supporters are strongly recommended to attend a World Burn Congress hosted by the Phoenix Society before applying for the program. All SOAR volunteers must meet additional volunteer requirements — see how to become a volunteer at UC San Diego Health.

Long-Term Support Group

We collaborate with the Burn Institute, which organizes several free programs for burn survivors and their families, including adult and family retreats, outings and support groups.

Burn-Related Organizations and Resources

  • Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation
    California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing burns and fires and providing services to people of all ages who have been affected by burn injury.
  • American Burn Association
    Responsible for developing national standards for the care of patients with burns, and supporting burn-related research, education, care, rehabilitation and prevention.
  • Burn Institute
    Dedicated to burn injury prevention and survivor support programs in San Diego and Imperial counties.
  • Burn Survivor Resource Community
    Links to organizations dedicated to assisting burn survivors and their families.
  • Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors
    Resources for burn survivors, their friends and loved ones, firefighters and medical professionals.