A photo of Michelle Ernst.

Pediatric Psychologist, Clinical, Behavioral Medicine & Clinical Psychology

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



My Biography & Research


As a pediatric psychologist, I treat a range of conditions including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety and depression. I also help children who have medical concerns and work with both children and their parents in coping with pain, physical symptom management and chronic conditions. I’m also the psychologist for the Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) team at Cincinnati Children’s. My patients range in age from young children to young adults.

In my practice, I provide evidence-based cognitive-behavioral interventions. I develop a very collaborative relationship with my patients and their families, and I work to build on their strengths.

In addition to helping patients, I’m involved in research to learn how to increase access to evidence-based behavioral health treatments for all children and families. And I serve on the Cincinnati Children's Ethics Committee.

Outside the hospital, I enjoy gardening, baking, singing and seeing movies – especially with my husband and two children.

Clinical Interests

Pediatric psychology; pain management; cardiac condition; dermatology conditions; differences of sexual development

Research Interests

Quality improvement; clinical effectiveness; pain management; differences of sexual development

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Behavioral Medicine, Differences of Sex Development, Clinical Psychology

My Locations

My Education

PhD: SUNY, Buffalo, NY, 2000.

Residency: O'Grady Residency in Psychology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

My Publications

Disorders of sex development (DSD) web-based information: quality survey of DSD team websites. Ernst, MM; Chen, D; Kennedy, K; Jewell, T; Sajwani, A; Foley, C; Sandberg, DE; Workgrp, DS D-T R N P. International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology. 2019; 2019.

Psychosocial Screening in Disorders/Differences of Sex Development: Psychometric Evaluation of the Psychosocial Assessment Tool. Ernst, MM; Gardner, M; Mara, CA; Delot, EC; Fechner, PY; Fox, M; Rutter, MM; Speiser, PW; Vilain, E; Weidler, EM; et al. Hormone Research in Paediatrics: from developmental endocrinology to clinical research. 2019; 90:368-380.

Psychosocial functioning of parents of children with heart diseasedescribing the landscape. Wray, J; Cassedy, A; Ernst, MM; Franklin, RC; Brown, K; Marino, BS. European Journal of Pediatrics. 2018; 177:1811-1821.

Disorders of Sex Development/Intersex: Gaps in Psychosocial Care for Children. Ernst, MM; Liao, L; Baratz, AB; Sandberg, DE. Pediatrics. 2018; 142:e20174045-e20174045.

CBT for Pediatric Migraine: A Qualitative Study of Patient and Parent Experience. Van Diest, AM K; Ernst, MM; Vaughn, L; Slater, S; Powers, SW. Headache. 2018; 58:661-675.

Biopsychosocial Predictors of Quality of Life Outcomes in Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease. Ernst, MM; Marino, BS; Cassedy, A; Piazza-Waggoner, C; Franklin, RC; Brown, K; Wray, J. Pediatric Cardiology. 2018; 39:79-88.

Similarities and Differences Between Migraine in Children and Adults: Presentation, Disability, and Response to Treatment. Van Diest, AM K; Ernst, MM; Slater, S; Powers, SW. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2017; 21.

Inter professional teamwork: A case study examining the practice patterns and perceptions of pediatric psychologists. Ernst, M; Filigno, SS; Cortina, S; Byars, K; Guilfoyle, S; McClure, J; Smolyansky, B; Kichler, J; Pai, A. 2017; 2:1-9.

Additional strategies for treatment barriers: Comment on Psihogios and Baber (2017). Ernst, MM. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology. 2017; 5:192-194.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to foster resilience in pediatric chronic illness. Ernst, MM; Mellon, MW. Child and Adolescent Resilience Within Medical Contexts: Integrating Research and Practice. : Springer International Publishing; Springer International Publishing; 2016.