I am a pediatric pain psychologist and researcher with over 20 years’ experience in the field. I study psychological factors in pediatric chronic pain and the impact of pain on the lives of children and their families. I also seek to develop evidence-based, nonpharmacologic treatments for chronic pain in children.
As a clinical psychologist with an interest in behavioral medicine, I have always been interested in how psychological factors play such an important role in disease management. During my residency and postdoctoral training years, I became interested in cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic pain. That training, along with my love of working with children in the clinical setting, led to my interest in developing specialized treatments for youth with chronic pain.
I came to Cincinnati Children’s in 1999. Our interdisciplinary team of pain researchers includes psychologists, rheumatologists, pain medicine physicians, sports medicine and physical therapy experts, biomechanists and statisticians. Our research focuses on the following areas:
- Physical, emotional and social consequences of chronic pain in children and adolescents
- Long-term outcomes of chronic pain as youth transition to adulthood
- Development and testing of safe and effective behavioral and exercise-based interventions for the treatment of chronic pediatric pain
During my career at Cincinnati Children’s, I have led the development of several cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) protocols for children with chronic pain. My colleagues and I are currently testing a novel integration of CBT with specialized neuromuscular exercise training for teens with juvenile fibromyalgia in a large multisite clinical trial, called the FIT Teens (Fibromyalgia Integrative Training for Teens) Trial.
I have published over 100 papers in scientific journals and received continuous National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for my research for nearly 20 years. I also have served on the Advisory Council for the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as well as on numerous NIH study sections. I am an associate editor for PAIN, the flagship journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain.