My research and clinical specialty is pediatric chronic pain. This interest began in college when I took a course in developmental psychology. I became fascinated by the rapid growth and change that occurs during childhood and the resilience youth display in times of challenge and hardship. When I went to graduate school, I witnessed firsthand how chronic health conditions, including pain, can affect children’s physical, emotional and social development. I was drawn to pediatric psychology because of the enormous impact psychologists can have by providing care for children and adolescents with chronic health conditions.
My research focuses on pediatric pain psychology. I am particularly interested in understanding how pain and emotions like anxiety affect how children and adolescents function in school. Additionally, I examine digital interventions for chronic pain management and mechanisms of change in clinical trials for chronic pain conditions like migraine and juvenile fibromyalgia. These research interests stemmed from my clinical work with patients and families who often shared about the difficulties of balancing the developmental demands of childhood with the challenges of having a chronic medical condition.
Through my research, I hope to develop and test novel treatments that incorporate technology to help children and adolescents with chronic pain manage their conditions better, so pain is no longer a central focus of their lives. I also hope to improve the way clinicians and researchers assess problems like school-related anxiety in youth with chronic pain because that will help us improve our treatments.