I am a pediatric psychologist who specializes in working with patients who have cancer and blood diseases. I believe that each family brings a unique perspective to the diagnosis and treatment of a serious medical illness in their child, and I strive to partner with them to promote optimal adjustment for the patient and family.
Early in my education, I was drawn to working with children in medical settings. As my career developed, I learned more about the field of pediatric psychology and gravitated toward it. It is in this role that I’m able to appreciate the great strength, care, and resilience in patients and their families. I feel privileged to be able to play a part in their lives to help in times of stress and change.
In my practice, I work to conceptualize each patient’s needs individually, as part of their family and within the medical system. Then I build a treatment plan that incorporates all the aspects of their care. I work with patients and families to understand what is unique and important to them in guiding the decisions they make.
There is no manual for decision-making in these situations, and no right or wrong path. It can be easy to get lost in the decisions, information, sacrifices, financial impacts and more that come with these diagnoses. That is why pediatric psychologists and others are here — to help make sure that what is important to patients and families is consistent with the specifics of their care.
We know that caregivers' mental health is often impacted as much, if not more, than the mental health of the children who are diagnosed with cancer. Through our research, we are looking to identify early, preventive mental health care that can mitigate some of the risks and help promote more effective coping.
I am also involved in several program-development projects in conjunction with my psychosocial and medical colleagues to promote increased access to psychosocial care and to improve adherence in patients undergoing treatment.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, going out and exploring, or just relaxing in the backyard!
Family adjustment to pediatric oncology, interdisciplinary care, communication in medical settings, and adherence
Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Behavioral Medicine, Hemangioma and Vascular Malformations