Heather Strong.

Heather Strong Harrison, PhD

  • Pediatric Psychologist, Integrated Behavioral Health Program, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
As a provider, I want to understand the patient’s/family’s perspectives and experiences so that I can meet them where they are, and they can be as successful as possible.
Heather Strong Harrison, PhD



I’m a pediatric psychologist providing limited diagnostic evaluation and brief evidence-based treatment for youth experiencing difficulties with behaviors, mood, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). My experience also includes providing therapy to youth with chronic medical conditions (i.e., sickle cell disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver) who have difficulty adjusting to their diagnosis or managing their illness as recommended. I provide care to active patients of our Pediatric Primary Care (PPC) and Hopple Street clinics by referral.

I became a psychologist because, like many others, I wanted to help support people through difficult times. Through my training experiences with families of children with chronic medical conditions, my passions extended to helping those who have frequent contact with the medical system and families that are misunderstood or overlooked. Knowing that stigma is often attached to mental and behavioral health, it’s important to me to change negative perspectives about these health challenges and help youth and families access the resources they need, be it assessment, treatment, education or community resources.

My treatment approach often involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and parent behavior management training with applied behavior analysis (ABA) methods. In my treatment delivery, it is critical to understand the context in which mental-behavioral health and physical health challenges occur and persist. In assessment and treatment, it’s essential to consider the whole child and their connection to multiple social systems, including the family system. I also understand that although the child is my patient, they come with a parent who may also be struggling, making it challenging for some caregivers to attend appointments or go home and implement recommendations. As a provider, I want to understand the patient’s / family’s perspectives and experiences so that I can meet them where they are, and they can be as successful as possible.

My research involves better understanding disparities in underserved groups and multi-system level contributors to mental and physical health outcomes. The goal is to develop, implement and evaluate new or existing programs and interventions that consider multi-system factors and genuinely address the needs of youth and families in clinical and community-based settings.

I’m honored to have been awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional NIH T32 National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Diversity Supplement Training Grant (2020). When not working, I like completing DIY projects, exploring new restaurants and enjoying the arts.

PhD: The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2019.

Residency: The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2019-2020.

Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2019-2022.


Integrated behavioral health; social factors affecting mental and physical health; family systems; parent training and behavior management; chronic disease self-management

Services and Specialties

Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology


Pediatric sickle cell disease; self-management and adherence; health inequities and disparities; multi-system level contributors to health and outcomes; health behaviors and health promotion; early intervention; chronic disease self-management; pediatric obesity; program / intervention development and implementation; quality improvement and translational science; community-based participatory research

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Using the consolidated framework for implementation research to identify recruitment barriers and targeted strategies for a shared decision-making randomized clinical trial in pediatric sickle cell disease. Strong, H; Hood, AM; Johnson, Y; Hackworth, R; Reed-Shackelford, M; Ramaswamy, R; Varughese, T; Quinn, CT; Crosby, LE. Clinical Trials. 2023; 20:211-222.

Marijuana, e-cigarette, and tobacco product use in young adults who underwent pediatric bariatric surgery. Zeller, MH; Strong, H; Reiter-Purtill, J; Jenkins, TM; Mitchell, JE; Michalsky, MP; Helmrath, MA. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 2023; 19:512-521.

Early COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Characteristics in Mothers Following Bariatric Surgery: Correspondence - a Response. Strong, H; Reiter-Purtill, J; Zeller, MH. Obesity Surgery. 2022; 32:1775-1776.

Early COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Characteristics in Mothers Following Bariatric Surgery. Strong, H; Reiter-Purtill, J; Howarth, T; West-Smith, L; Zeller, MH. Obesity Surgery. 2022; 32:852-860.

Engaging Caregivers and Providers of Children With Sickle Cell Anemia in Shared Decision Making for Hydroxyurea: Protocol for a Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial. Hood, AM; Strong, H; Nwankwo, C; Johnson, Y; Peugh, J; Mara, CA; Shook, LM; Brinkman, WB; Real, FJ; Klein, MD; et al. JMIR Research Protocols. 2021; 10:e27650.

Weight status and health behaviors of adolescents and young adults with sickle cell disease: The emerging risk for obesity. Strong, H; Harry, O; Westcott, E; Kidwell, KM; Couch, SC; Peairs, A; Britto, MT; Crosby, LE. Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (Informa). 2021; 38:265-271.

Improving self-management in adolescents with sickle cell disease. Crosby, LE; Hood, A; Kidwell, K; Nwankwo, C; Peugh, J; Strong, H; Quinn, C; Britto, MT. Pediatric Blood and Cancer. 2020; 67:e28492.

The Teen Symposium: Engaging Adolescents and Young Adults With Sickle Cell Disease in Clinical Care and Research. Crosby, LE; Strong, H; Johnson, A; Mitchell, MJ. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology. 2020; 8:139-149.

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