Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology

  • Programs and Services

    The Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology works closely with other medical specialty programs at Cincinnati Children’s to deliver comprehensive care to patients and families.

    Specialized Programs

    The Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology works closely with the following specialized programs at Cincinnati Children’s:

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    + Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders

    Psychologist: Nicole Zahka, PhD

    Children are referred nationally and internationally to the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders for the diagnosis and treatment of eosinophilic disease. The team psychologist provides services to families and children having difficulty adjusting to or coping with illness, and helps improve treatment adherence, particularly with regard to restricted diets, pain management and other psychological concerns.

    Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders

    + Comprehensive Weight Management Center

    Psychologist: Megan Ratcliff, PhDMeg Zeller, PhD

    The Comprehensive Weight Management Center (CWMC) is a surgical intervention program for significantly overweight adolescents ages 13 to 19. This program offers a family-centered approach to treating obesity in teens, including long-term after care and emotional support. Patients and their families are counseled and closely followed within a clinical setting, which is designed to meet the psychosocial, emotional and medical needs of overweight adolescents. The psychologist works with prospective patients to determine whether bariatric surgery is an appropriate choice. After surgery, the psychologist works with the patient and family to provide support and facilitate adherence with post-operative treatment guidelines.

    + Craniofacial Center

    Psychologist: Janet Schultz, PhD

    The Craniofacial Team is a multidisciplinary team managing children with a variety of craniofacial anomalies. The team psychologist provides consultation on general behavioral, developmental and condition-specific concerns expressed by these patients and their families.

    + Cystic Fibrosis Center

    Psychologist: Stephanie Spear Filigno, PhD

    The Cystic Fibrosis Center provides multidisciplinary care for children with cystic fibrosis and their families. Psychological services include consultation with team members regarding general behavioral, developmental and disease-specific concerns, as well as direct clinical services for children and families. Psychologists also conduct clinical research examining behaviorally based feeding interventions for toddlers and children.

    + Diabetes Center

    Psychologist: Jessica Kichler, PhD

    The Diabetes Center provides multidisciplinary care for approximately 2,000 children, adolescents and young adults with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and their families. The team psychologist provides assessment and treatment for a wide variety of emotional and behavioral problems commonly experienced in diabetes; these include mood disorders, needle phobia, problems adjusting to diabetes and family conflict that is often associated with poor adherence to complicated treatment regimens. These services are provided in conjunction with Sandra Cortina, the director of the clinical service for the Adherence Center, who sees patients when adherence is the primary reason for referral to psychology.

    Read more about the Diabetes Center

    + Disorders of Sexual Development

    Psychologists:  Nicole Zahka, PhD

    Disorders of sexual development can have a profound effect on children and their families. While some of these conditions are diagnosed at birth (congenital adrenal hyperplasia, androgen insensitivity), others are not discovered until later in life (vaginal agenesis). Complex treatments often include multiple daily medications and reconstructive surgeries at critical developmental times.

    The psychologist working with this population provides assessment and treatment of a variety of emotional and behavioral issues including depression and anxiety, nonadherence to treatment, body image and identity concerns and medical decision making.

    + Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) Center

    Psychologist: Anne Lynch-Jordan, PhD

    The Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) Center provides interdisciplinary care to patients with EB, a group of inherited dermatological disorders characterized by blistering of the skin. The team psychologist focuses on family and patient adjustment, patient adaptive coping, behavioral assessments and mental health referrals to address difficulties in these areas.

    + Headache Center

    Psychologist: Anne Lynch-Jordan, PhD; Shalonda Slater, PhD; Irina Parkins, PhD

    The Headache Center is an internationally recognized, interdisciplinary treatment program that includes the Division of Neurology and the Division of Psychology. Psychologists work with the team of physicians and nurses to promote health behaviors that reduce the frequency of headaches, teach active approaches that lead to optimal adherence in taking abortive and preventative medications for headache, and provide specialized training in the use of biofeedback-assisted relaxation to prevent headaches and help children better cope with pain when headaches occur.

    Read more about the Headache Center

    + Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinic

    Psychologist: Michael Mellon, PhD

    Optimal care for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and their families requires a multidisciplinary approach, including psychology. These children are served by a full-time pediatric psychologist providing individual and family therapy in the IBD clinic and as an outpatient service for the significant psychosocial issues associated with this chronic medical condition. Further, a specialized psychologist provides specific intervention for adherence issues for the IBD patient. Finally, a research psychologist coordinates with the clinical services for ongoing studies related to IBD.

    + Inpatient Rehabilitation

    Psychologist: Brenna LeJeune, PhD

    Through the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, neuropsychology staff provide treatment and evaluation services as part of a multidisciplinary team for children hospitalized with various conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, strokes and other disorders of the central nervous system.

    + International Adoption Center

    Psychologist: Irina Parkins, PhD

    The International Adoption Center is committed to providing interdisciplinary care to children who have been adopted internationally and their families. The psychologist is actively involved in conducting psychological evaluations of the children to identify any cognitive, academic and emotional or behavioral needs. This helps adopting families seek early, appropriate interventions. The psychologist also collaborates closely with the center’s social worker, school intervention coordinator and medical staff.

    Read more about the International Adoption Center

    + Liver Transplant Team

    Psychologist: Shalonda Slater, PhD

    Children who are being evaluated for liver or small bowel transplant participate in a two-day multidisciplinary evaluation with team members from surgery, gastroenterology, social work, psychology, chaplaincy, child-life and nutrition. The transplant psychologist evaluates the patient’s developmental, emotional and behavioral functioning, and identifies potential barriers to post-transplant adherence. The team psychologist also provides inpatient and outpatient services to families and children having difficulty adjusting to or coping with the transplant process.

    + Movement Disorders Clinic

    Psychologist: Abigail Johnson, PhD 

    The Movement Disorder Clinic provides assessment and treatment of Tourette syndrome and other movement disorders in children and adolescents. Treatment usually includes cognitive behavioral therapy for tics, coping skills training, and methods for implementing skills in the classroom and other social settings. The goal of treatment is to reduce disruptive movements and vocalizations, increase self-efficacy in managing symptoms and improve daily functioning.

    + Neuro-Oncology Program

    Psychologist: Christian vonThomsen, PsyD; Anne Bradley, PhD

    Children with brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, and related conditions are followed by neuropsychologists during and after treatment to detect and suggest accommodations for changes in thinking skills and behavior.

    + New Onset Seizure Clinic

    Psychologist: Shanna Guilfoyle, PhDAvani Modi, PhD

    The New-Onset Seizure Clinic is part of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. The team psychologist conducts brief psychosocial evaluations, triages patients and their families for additional services (neuropsychological or developmental testing) and provides brief interventions for emotional, behavioral, social and adherence issues.

    Read more about the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program

    + Pain Team / Clinic

    Psychologist: Anne Lynch-Jordan, PhD; Shalonda Slater, PhD; Irina Parkins, PhD

    The pain clinic provides multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of chronic pain conditions in children and adolescents. Patients see the pain physician, psychologist and physical therapist for a comprehensive evaluation. Treatment usually includes medication, biofeedback, coping skills training and physical therapy. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and improve daily functioning.

    + Renal Transplant Team

    Psychologist: Shalonda Slater, PhD

    Children being considered for renal transplant listing undergo a multidisciplinary evaluation involving team members from surgery, nephrology, social work, finance and behavioral medicine. The transplant team psychologist evaluates the patient’s developmental, emotional, family, behavioral functioning, and identifies potential barriers to post-transplant adherence. The team psychologist also provides outpatient services to families and children with emotional, coping or adherence problems.

    + Sickle Cell Team

    Psychologist:  Lori Crosby, PsyD

    The Cincinnati Comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic is one of 11 nationally funded translational and basic science treatment centers for persons affected by sickle cell disease (SCD). The SCD psychology service sees patients during clinic visits as part of a multi-disciplinary team focusing on pain management, adherence to treatment regimens, adjustment to illness, and emotional or behavioral problems. The psychology service also directs a web-based pilot project designed to improve healthcare satisfaction and patient-provider communication during clinic visits. In addition, the psychology service coordinates the multidisciplinary team that works with adolescents and young adults as they transition to the adult healthcare system.