From a young age I knew that I would be involved in a profession directly helping others.

EDUCATION

Undergraduate Degree

  • California State University , 1995 , Rohnert Park , CA

Graduate Degree

Masters, Clinical Psychology
  • California School of Professional Psychology , 1998 , San Diego , CA

Graduate Degree

PhD, Clinical Psychology
  • California School of Professional Psychology , 2002 , San Diego , CA

Fellowship

Post-Doctoral
  • Columbus Children's Hospital, The Ohio State University , 2003 , Columbus , OH

Philosophy of Care

From a young age I knew that I would be involved in a profession directly helping others. Through studies, I became intrigued by the brain and the neural basis of emotions, perception and behavior. The development of these neural systems throughout childhood and the influence of social advantage and adversity on developmental outcome captured my fascination and led me toward the path of pediatric neuropsychology.

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY

My work as a pediatric neuropsychology is focused on understanding how children living with epilepsy develop, taking into account systems that influence brain development, including family, community and biology. The child’s behavior also alters these systems; this dynamic interchange outlines the neurodevelopmental process determining function up to the present time and identifies factors that can be harnessed as agents of change in future stages of development. 

The child’s behavior also alters these systems; this dynamic interchange outlines the neurodevelopmental process determining function up to the present time and identifies factors that can be harnessed as agents of change in future stages of development.  History is gathered from informants about environments, relationships, behavior and development to date and detailed medical history is interwoven with the social system.

For the last 12 years I have developed the Neuropsychology of Epilepsy Program within the Epilepsy Center at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). I was the first neuropsychologist hired into the Epilepsy Center and Department of Neurology. I blazed a trail, building a clinical and research program from the ground up. Demand for neuropsychology services for epilepsy patients increased over time and six years ago I was able to recruit and hire a second neuropsychologist to work under my direction while simultaneously training two fellows per year and providing educational instruction throughout the Harvard Medical School system. We have recently hired a third neuropsychologist and will increase research collaborations and clinical capacity.

My research has focused on the behavioral and cognitive developmental disruption of interictal epileptiform discharges in patients with benign rolandic epilepsy as well as neuropsychological outcome of pediatric epilepsy surgery. I am fascinated by questions about disease mechanisms that effect development and designing research methods to bring us closer to answering these questions and ultimately helping children with these conditions thrive in their development. It is an exciting time to work in fields that intersect developmental neuroscience as it moves towards an appreciation of functional brain systems.

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists