Kaitlyn Chacon
Burn Ambassador
Research Coordinator of the Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System
Boston, MA
Fun Facts

Kaitlyn enjoys fishing and swimming and has challenged herself to take up running. She now has a new furry friend, Teddy, a mini golden doodle, to join her on her expeditions. Furthermore, she profoundly appreciates different languages and enjoys learning about other cultures.

Kaitlyn’s Burn Injury Journey

Kaitlyn volunteered for many years as a summer camp counselor and the most common burns she would see were sunburns. Although sunburns put a damper on summer activities for many, they provoked her to consider the effects of various burns. Today, Kaitlyn is one of the Boston-Harvard Burn Injuries Model System’s (BHBIMS) research coordinators. Through her work, she has witnessed the physical limitations of burn injuries and their effect on people long after they leave the hospital. Likewise, it can be difficult for people with burn injuries to access the resources and services they require outside the hospital for various reasons. The extent to which their lives have changed prompts the daily battle to “thrive, not just survive.” This mindset has helped many people look beyond their limitations and push toward achieving future possibilities. The burn community’s resilience drives Kaitlyn to advocate for fire safety, burn awareness, and overall health wellness. She is able to act as an advocate by hosting informational sessions for people at Mass General and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospitals. Furthermore, the BHBIMS team has shared fire safety, burn awareness, and overall health wellness with the local community elementary school, thus facilitating the dissemination of information at an earlier age in hopes that they, too, can help others.

Why does Kaitlyn think people should consider referring to the MSKTC resources?

What is excellent about MSKTC resources is they have a wide range of resources, so there is something for everyone. Kaitlyn has used burn injury resources to inform herself and provide information to burn survivors within her community. Helpful tips on sun protection, employment, and pain management post-burn injury can all be found on their website. The resources in English are great! Their Spanish resources have been great for her community as well. It often takes more work to find quality resources with good translations, but MSKTC is making this resource more accessible.

Why does Kaitlyn want to be an MSKTC ambassador?

Since beginning her burn researcher position, she has learned many things. The first is that individuals with burn injuries are survivors that can overcome victimization. Secondly, burn care goes beyond acute treatment; many must learn to manage their health independently! Thirdly, seeing firsthand how burn survivors adapt and overcome their challenges with the help of resources is genuinely inspiring. As a Spanish speaker, burn researcher, and aspiring clinician, becoming an ambassador for MSTKC will facilitate the dissemination of aid to the unapproached Spanish population in Massachusetts.

What has Kaitlyn done as a MSKTC ambassador?

Kaitlyn currently manages the social media platforms for BHBIMS and makes it a point to share as many MSKTC resources as possible. She has the unique opportunity to meet many burn survivors at affiliated hospitals and offer MSKTC post-injury care resources to them and their loved ones. The training on the MSTKC page has helped her better advocate for the burn population and reassure caregivers of burn survivors there are resources at their disposal. After receiving these resources, she has found that people tend to feel more confident about managing their burn-specific health even five years post-injury!