Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts adjunct professor Frank Chindamo developed an app to help hospital healthcare providers and patients laugh more. He tested his LaughMD app with Chapman Marriage and Family Therapy graduate students and the results showed laughter is “good medicine” for health care providers, too.

Chindamo has a long history in laughter. At age 19, he was interning for NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) and shortly thereafter working on the original Ghostbusters movie. But after his father, younger brother and step-father all died in hospitals, he vowed to bring laughter into hospitals as a form of therapeutic medicine.

The LaughMD app wasn’t the original concept. It evolved when he realized that healthcare providers – even more than patients — could benefit from laughter. Initially, he launched comedy channels onto the patient TV sets at two premiere hospitals in Los Angeles: Cedars-Sinai and Kaiser Permanente. The channels were well-received, but were difficult to monetize and measure. Chindamo then shifted the model to provide comedy to healthcare providers.

man's face

Frank Chindamo

“After spending so much time in hospitals, I could see that the healthcare providers needed laughter as much as the patients,” Chindamo said. “These professionals have very high levels of stress and employee burn-out, and these factors can lead to increased hospital costs and even deadly mistakes.”

Chindamo, who teaches “Art & Business of Web Video” and “Advanced Web Video Production” at Chapman University launched a study to see if short comedy videos, played on the healthcare provider’s own mobile phones, could reduce their stress levels. For 30 days, student practitioners at the Chapman University’s Crean College of Health & Behavioral Sciences’ Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic logged 720 numerical results. The baseline rate of the participants’ stress levels was 3.34 out of 5. Average stress rating after consuming laughter was 2.69. That’s a difference of 0.65 out of 5, or 13%.”

“The diagnosis was good,” Chindamo said. “Ninety-nine percent of the respondents felt the same or better after watching comedy videos on the LaughMD beta app. If stress is a “disease” these results could indicate that people who are the most diseased stand to benefit the most from laughter.”

Medical research shows laughter to have the following benefits to hospital staff:

  • Enables earlier patient release―laughter speeds up recovery, which can help shorten hospitalization cycles, saving costs and enabling hospitals to serve more patients.
  • Improves patient comprehension and compliance―research shows that patients who receive pre and post-operative instructions in a more relaxed and light-hearted state of mind are much better at following those instructions.
  • Reduces patient anxiety―laughter’s stress-reducing effects improve patient and family satisfaction and help diffuse potentially confrontational attitudes.

Here is how Laugh MD works:

Once the user is signed into the app, they can rate their stress levels before and after watching a short comedy film. The categories include: cartoons, stand up, sketch comedy, funny animals and funny baby videos. They are vetted to be “safe for work,” short and funny.

The study and survey were conducted by Frank Chindamo, adjunct professor in Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, in association with Susan Jester, MA, LMFT, Director of Chapman’s Frances Smith Center for Individual & Family Therapy and Dr. Naveen Jonathan Ph.D. LMFT, Clinical Assistant Professor of Marriage & Family Therapy and Director of Chapman’s Marriage & Family Therapy Program, and aided by Chapman business administration student intern Andrew Ooi.

Although additional research is planned on the effects of LaughMD, more information can be found at

 About Chapman University

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University attracts extraordinary students and faculty from around the globe. Its ten schools and colleges foster a vibrant intellectual community, and provide extensive opportunities for students to learn, grow and discover alongside remarkable faculty. The University is home to some 8,000 students pursuing bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, and is alma mater to more than 40,000 alumni found throughout the United States and the world. Now celebrating its 156th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The University is comprised of its main campus in Orange, California, and the Rinker Health Science campus for graduate health science programs in Irvine, California. Visit us at

Follow us on Facebook at: Chapman University Facebook

On Twitter and Instagram at: @ChapmanU

On YouTube at: Chapman University YouTube Channel




Log In
Open Main Menu