A photo of Avani Modi.

Avani C. Modi, PhD

  • Pediatric Psychologist, Research, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
  • Associate Director, Research in Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology 
  • Director, Center for Adherence and Self-Management
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



I became interested in adherence research during graduate school when I saw the effects of non-adherence on children’s clinical outcomes. My graduate school mentor had a research program focused on adherence in cystic fibrosis treatment, a condition with a traditionally complicated treatment regimen. I was fascinated by the simple and complex barriers families experienced when seeking care for their children.

As a result, my research focuses on improving the health outcomes of children with chronic conditions, especially epilepsy. My team and I develop interventions to improve adherence to treatment and improve executive functioning skills, which can make adherence to a treatment plan easier.

I currently work as the director of the Center for Adherence and Self-Management at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. I am also a professor of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

In my laboratory, we look for ways to best measure adherence to treatment, identify adherence barriers, and then develop and test interventions to address adherence barriers. My research has also focused on the development of executive functioning interventions for teens living with epilepsy. I also have an interest in the development of patient-reported outcome measures, including health-related quality of life.

My team and I have developed many seminal measures in pediatric psychology frequently used in clinical care and research, including:

  • Barriers to adherence tool
  • Pediatric Epilepsy Medication Self-Management Questionnaire
  • Pediatric Epilepsy Side Effects Questionnaire
  • PedsQL Epilepsy Module
  • Sizing Me Up and Sizing Them Up

My early research was awarded with the following honors:

  • 2009 Routh Early Career Award in Pediatric Psychology
  • 2012 Charlotte Schmidlapp Women’s Scholar Award

In my later career, I’ve continued to receive notable awards, such as:

  • 2016 Fellow, American Psychological Association, Division 54 (Pediatric Psychology)
  • 2017 Mid-Career Research Scientist Award, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • 2017 Outstanding Alumna of the Year, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida
  • 2017 1st place Crystal Award, Association for Educational and Communications Technology, Division of Distance Learning for the development of Epilepsy Journey 2017
  • 2017 Fellow, American Epilepsy Society
  • 2018 Epilepsia Winner for Basic Science Research for the article The Impact of Non-adherence to Antiseizure Drugs on Seizure Outcomes in an Animal Model of Epilepsy
  • 2019 Finalist, Epilepsy Shark Tank
  • 2019 2nd place Crystal Award, Associate for Educational and Communications Technology Division of Distance Learning for the development of eACT (epilepsy Adherence in Children and Technology)

I have a long-standing track record of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, include a pre-doctoral award (F32), a T32 fellowship, a K23 Career Development Award, and several R01s and R21s. I also serve as a co-investigator on many NIH- and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)-funded grants.



The neural basis of executive functioning deficits in adolescents with epilepsy: a resting-state fMRI connectivity study of working memory. Gutierrez-Colina, AM; Vannest, J; Maloney, T; Wade, SL; Combs, A; Horowitz-Kraus, T; Modi, AC. Brain Imaging and Behavior. 2021; 15:166-176.


Keeping people with epilepsy safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. French, JA; Brodie, MJ; Caraballo, R; Devinsky, O; Ding, D; Jehi, L; Jette, N; Kanner, A; Modi, AC; Newton, CR; et al. Neurology. 2020; 94:1032-1037.


Pediatric epilepsy. Smith, AW; Gutierrez-Colina, AM; Guilfoyle, SM; Modi, AC. Adherence and Self-Management in Pediatric Populations. 2020.


Current behavioral health and cognitive screening practices in pediatric epilepsy. Wagner, JL; Modi, AC; Guilfoyle, SM; Junger, KF; Weyand, C; Smith, G; Griffin, M; Mucci, G. Epilepsy and Behavior. 2019; 101.


Epilepsy Journey: A proof of concept trial of a Web-based executive functioning intervention for adolescents with epilepsy. Modi, AC; Mara, CA; Schmidt, M; Smith, AW; Turnier, L; Glaser, N; Wade, SL. Epilepsia. 2019; 60:1895-1907.


Quality of life improves with integrated behavioral health services in pediatric new-onset epilepsy. Guilfoyle, SM; Mara, CA; Follansbee-Junger, K; Smith, AW; Hater, B; Modi, AC. Epilepsy and Behavior. 2019; 96:57-60.


Executive functioning phenotypes in youth with epilepsy. Modi, AC; Gutierrez-Colina, AM; Wagner, JL; Smith, G; Junger, K; Huszti, H; Mara, CA. Epilepsy and Behavior. 2019; 90:112-118.


Pattern of executive functioning in adolescents with epilepsy: A multimethod measurement approach. Modi, AC; Vannest, J; Combs, A; Turnier, L; Wade, SL. Epilepsy and Behavior. 2018; 80:5-10.


Adherence barriers in pediatric epilepsy: From toddlers to young adults. Gutierrez-Colina, AM; Smith, AW; Mara, CA; Modi, AC. Epilepsy and Behavior. 2018; 80:229-234.

From the Blog

Modi Named Incoming Editor for Journal of Pediatric Psychology
Mind Brain Behavior

Modi Named Incoming Editor for Journal of Pediatric Psychology

Avani C. Modi, PhD7/21/2021

Review of Epilepsy and Seizure Tracking Apps
BlogRare and Complex Conditions

Review of Epilepsy and Seizure Tracking Apps

By Avani Modi, PhD3/29/2016

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