Staff Psychologist in the Pain Treatment Service
Associate Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry & Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Laura E. Simons received her PhD at the University of Georgia under the mentorship of Dr. Ronald Blount and completed postdoctoral training at the Pain Treatment Service at Boston Children’s Hospital under the mentorship of Deirdre Logan, PhD, and Lisa Scharff, PhD. Dr. Simons is currently associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and staff psychologist in the Pain Treatment Service at Boston Children’s Hospital. She works in the clinic evaluating and treating children and adolescents who present with persistent pain and has an active line of research with grant support.
Dr. Simons' program of research focuses on pain-related fear. She conceptualizes this construct as an underlying mechanism that maintains persistent disability in youth with chronic pain. Pain-related fear leads to avoidance of activities and situations that might be painful. As avoidance becomes more prevalent, patients experience more functional disability and lower quality of life. Working with patients to gradually overcome avoidance of fear activities and return to a fuller, productive life inspired her current line of research. Most recently she has begun integrating neuroimaging techniques into her body of work to examine the neural circuitry of fear and learning in youth with chronic pain.
Dr. Simons is an active member of the Society of Pediatric Psychology, serving as newsletter editor for Progress Notes, chair of the International Committee, seeking to expand membership of SPP worldwide, and was the 2012 Donald K. Routh Early Career Awardee. She is also an active member of the American Pain Society, serving on grant and awards committees, and was the 2013 John C. Liebeskind Early Career Scholar.