A photo of Susmita Kashikar-Zuck.

Pediatric Psychologist, Research, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology

Director, Research

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Board Certified

My Biography & Research


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.

Additional Languages


Clinical Interests

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

Research Interests

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

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Behavioral Medicine, Clinical Psychology

Blog Posts

ACTS One, Scene One

Mind Brain Behavior

ACTS One, Scene One

Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD, Gregory D. Myer, PhD7/3/2019

My Education

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.

My Publications

Selected Publication

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.

Topical Review: Enhancing Understanding of the Clinical Meaningfulness of Outcomes to Assess Treatment Benefit from Psychological Therapies for Children with Chronic Pain. Palermo, TM; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Lynch-Jordan, A. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 2020; 45:233-238.

Heightened risk of pain in young adult women with a history of childhood maltreatment: A prospective longitudinal study. Beal, SJ; Kashikar-Zuck, S; King, C; Black, W; Barnes, J; Noll, JG. Pain. 2020; 161:156-165.

Development and pilot testing of the treatment and education approach for childhood-onset lupus (TEACH): a cognitive behavioral treatment. Cunningham, NR; Fussner, LM; Moorman, E; Aydin, PO A; Brunner, HI; Kashikar-Zuck, S. Pediatric Rheumatology Online Journal. 2019; 17.

Characterizing Social and Academic Aspects of School Anxiety in Pediatric Chronic Pain. Gibler, RC; Beckmann, EA; Lynch-Jordan, AM; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Mano, KE J. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2019; 35:625-632.

Brain mechanisms impacted by psychological therapies for pain: identifying targets for optimization of treatment effects. Cunningham, NR; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Coghill, RC. PAIN Reports. 2019; 4:e767-e767.

Utility of the PROMIS Pediatric Pain Interference Scale in Juvenile Fibromyalgia. Fussner, LM; Black, WR; Lynch-Jordan, A; Morgan, EM; Ting, TV; Kashikar-Zuck, S. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 2019; 44:436-441.

Special considerations in conducting clinical trials of chronic pain management interventions in children and adolescents and their families. Palermo, TM; Kashikar-Zuck, S; Friedrichsdorf, SJ; Powers, SW. PAIN Reports. 2019; 4:e649-e649.

Clinical Reference Points for the Screen for Child Anxiety-related Disorders in 2 Investigations of Youth With Chronic Pain. Cunningham, NR; Jagpal, A; Nelson, S; Mano, KE J; Tran, ST; Lynch-Jordan, AM; Hainsworth, K; Peugh, J; Mara, CA; Kashikar-Zuck, S. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2019; 35:238-246.