A photo of Susmita Kashikar-Zuck.

Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD

  • Associate Director, Pediatric Pain Research Center
  • Associate Director, NIAMS P30 Pediatric Musculoskeletal and Rheumatology Innovation Core Center
  • Member, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology
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.
Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD



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.

PhD: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 1995.

Internship: Subspecialty in Medical/Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Fellowship: Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Certification: Licensed Clinical Psychologist.


Pediatric pain management; cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment of chronic pain in children; parent training; biofeedback.

Services and Specialties

Behavioral Medicine


Psychological factors in pediatric chronic pain; evidence-based interventions for the treatment of pediatric chronic pain; cognitive-behavior therapy for juvenile fibromyalgia; combined behavioral and exercise-based interventions; long term outcomes of adolescents with fibromyalgia; transition to early adulthood

Research Areas

Clinical Psychology

Additional Languages




Long-term outcomes of adolescents with juvenile-onset fibromyalgia into adulthood and impact of depressive symptoms on functioning over time. Kashikar-Zuck, S; Cunningham, N; Peugh, J; Black, WR; Nelson, S; Lynch-Jordan, AM; Pfeiffer, M; Tran, ST; Ting, TV; Arnold, LM; et al. PAIN. 2019; 160:433-441.


Pilot Randomized Trial of Integrated Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Neuromuscular Training for Juvenile Fibromyalgia: The FIT Teens Program. Kashikar-Zuck, S; Black, WR; Pfeiffer, M; Peugh, J; Williams, SE; Ting, TV; Thomas, S; Kitchen, K; Myer, GD. Journal of Pain. 2018; 19:1049-1062.

Reduced Cortico-Cortical Resting-State Connectivity in Sensory Systems Related to Bodily Pain in Juvenile Fibromyalgia. Suñol, M; Dudley, J; Payne, MF; Tong, H; Ting, TV; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Coghill, RC; López-Solà, M. Arthritis and Rheumatology. 2024; 76:293-303.

The effects of joint hypermobility on pain and functional biomechanics in adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia: secondary baseline analysis from a pilot randomized controlled trial. Black, WR; DiCesare, CA; Wright, LA; Thomas, S; Pfeiffer, M; Kitchen, K; Ting, TV; Williams, SE; Myer, GD; Kashikar-Zuck, S. BMC Pediatrics. 2023; 23:557.

A narrative review of the literature on illness uncertainty in hypermobile ehlers-danlos syndrome: implications for research and clinical practice. Feldman, EC H; Homan, KJ; Williams, SE; Ting, TV; Goldschneider, KR; Kashikar-Zuck, S. Pediatric Rheumatology Online Journal. 2023; 21:121.

Does it hold promise? Measuring pediatric anxiety via PROMIS vs the clinically validated SCARED. Gamwell, KL; Mara, CA; Ely, SL; Hommel, KA; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Cunningham, NR. Children's Health Care. 2023; ahead-of-print:1-17.

Augmented pain-evoked primary sensorimotor cortex activation in adolescent girls with juvenile fibromyalgia. Tong, H; Maloney, TC; Payne, MF; Suñol, M; Dudley, JA; King, CD; Ting, TV; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Coghill, RC; López-Solà, M. PAIN. 2023; 164:2316-2326.

Conversion From In-Person to Remote Delivery of Neuromuscular Training to Treat Chronic Pain in Adolescents. Thomas, SM; Beasley, KF; Rodriguez-Macclintic, JC; Collins, S; Myer, GD; Kashikar-Zuck, S. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 2023; 45:439-449.

Dataset used to refine a treatment protocol of a biofeedback-based virtual reality intervention for pain and anxiety in children and adolescents undergoing surgery. Orgil, Z; Karthic, A; Bell, N; Williams, SE; Ding, L; Kashikar-Zuck, S; King, CD; Olbrecht, VA. Data in Brief. 2023; 49:109331.

Clinical Characterization of Juvenile Fibromyalgia in a Multicenter Cohort of Adolescents Enrolled in a Randomized Clinical Trial. Lynch-Jordan, AM; Connelly, M; Guite, JW; King, C; Goldstein-Leever, A; Logan, DE; Nelson, S; Stinson, JN; Ting, TV; Wakefield, EO; et al. Arthritis Care and Research. 2023; 75:1795-1803.

From the Blog

ACTS One, Scene One
Mind Brain Behavior

ACTS One, Scene One

Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD7/3/2019

Patient Ratings and Comments

All patient satisfaction ratings and comments are submitted by actual patients and verified by a leading independent patient satisfaction company, NRC Health. Patient identities are withheld to ensure confidentiality and privacy. Only those providers whose satisfaction surveys are administered through Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are displayed. Click here to learn more about our survey

Overall Patient Rating