Pediatric Pain Psychology Fellowship

Program Overview

The Pediatric Pain Management Center (PPMC) at Stanford Children’s Health and Stanford University Department of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine offers a one-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Pain Psychology. Candidates with interest and skill may pursue a second-year 50% research and 50% clinical postdoctoral training experience pending first-year performance and funding. The purpose of the fellowship is to offer advanced interprofessional training in pediatric pain psychology to a psychologist-in-training with a PhD or PsyD from an APA-accredited psychology doctoral program. Our goal is to prepare the fellow to function successfully as part of an interprofessional outpatient care team evaluating and treating pain in children seen at an academic medical center, and contributing to the profession through involvement in clinical research in pediatric pain medicine.

The Pediatric Pain Management Center (PPMC) at Stanford Children’s Health offers services focusing on outpatient evaluation and treatment of chronic pain, intensive outpatient rehabilitation programming, and inpatient treatment of acute and chronic pain. Physicians, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, nurses, and fellows work collaboratively on a clinical team to address the complex problems faced by youth living with chronic discomfort and their families.


Clinical Opportunities

Postdoctoral fellowship includes clinical and research opportunities designed to foster the professional development of the fellow. The focus of this fellowship is on assessment, treatment, and clinical research in the area of pediatric pain. There will be 2 rotations: outpatient and intensive outpatient. For the first 6 months, an average week may consist of 3-4 interdisciplinary evaluations of new patients, group therapy with youth and their caregivers, and 10-12 outpatient therapy cases. The second 6 months of training involves participation in the outpatient rehabilitation day treatment program where the fellow provides daily treatment and participates in interdisciplinary care conferences, and also includes opportunities to participate in group therapy, complete 2 interdisciplinary evaluations, and provide 8 outpatient therapy hours per week. Conditions commonly referred for treatment include complex regional pain syndrome, headache, recurrent abdominal pain, musculoskeletal and/or joint pain, and fibromyalgia. The fellow receives advanced specialized training via: guided readings, shadowing all specialties within the multidisciplinary team, co-therapy for groups, supervised assessment and clinical activity (both individual and group), and pediatric pain clinical research. Presentations at local and national conferences targeting clinical work, knowledge, and research are encouraged. Clinical hours and supervision for licensure are provided.  

Formal Training Opportunities

The fellowship sponsors training in biofeedback and hypnosis: 1) a 5-day biofeedback course through the Stens Cooperation program (The association for applied psychophysiology and Biofeedback), and 2) a 3-Day Hypnosis training conference through The National Pediatric Hypnosis Training Institute (NPHTI). For the first 6 months, fellows participate in weekly lectures in ethics and pediatric psychology topics to prepare for EPPP and licensure. Once a month, fellows participate in a conference call to connect with pediatric pain psychology fellows around the nation discussing cases, providing support, making professional connections, and participating in presentations on pediatric pain medicine topics.

Research Opportunities

Twenty percent of the fellow's time is protected for participation in ongoing research projects. Current research opportunities include functional and psychological outcomes-tracking, delineating effectiveness of group therapies for youth with chronic pain and their families, and evaluating impact of intensive rehabilitation treatment for complex chronic pain conditions on youth function/outcome.  Development of an independent project is encouraged, and the fellow is provided support to participate in one or more national conference(s) commensurate with productivity.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the nation’s most desirable places to live: its diverse cultures, temperate year-round climate, world-class arts scene, food and wine, and access to recreation (ski slopes, hiking trails, redwood forests, beaches, wine country, and bustling cities) afford delightfully unique benefits. Stanford University sits within the dynamic Silicon Valley region, in the cosmopolitan town of Palo Alto – just 35 miles south of San Francisco and 15 miles north of San Jose.

Virtually all clinical training takes place at the outpatient clinic located at 321 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park (3 miles from campus), and the weekly lecture series occurs on campus in Palo Alto. To maintain proximity to these sites, fellows often reside in San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park, or Mountain View. Stanford West Apartments, a convenient Stanford-owned option in Palo Alto, is available to fellows. These apartments are located across from the Stanford University Medical Center (SUMC). Fellows can bike, walk or ride the Marguerite Shuttle to the main outpatient clinic, campus sites, and the downtown Palo Alto train station. 

Current and Past Fellows

  • Christina Theodore Oklota, PhD
    • Year: 2011 - 2012
    • Graduate School: Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts
    • Internship: Nationwide Children’s Hospital
    • Current Position: Associate Director, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc.
  • Samantha Huestis, PhD
    • Year: 2012 - 2013
    • Graduate School: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
    • Internship: Yale University Child Study Center
    • Current Position:   Licensed Pediatric Pain Psychologist, Stanford Children’s Health
  • Grace Kao, PhD
    • Year: 2013 - 2014 
    • Graduate School: Texas A&M University, Austin, TX
    • Internship: Boston Children’s Hospital
    • Current Position: Licensed Pediatric Pain Psychologist, Texas Children’s Hospital
  • Amanda Feinstein, PhD
    • Year: 2014 - current
    • Graduate School: Georgia State University, GA
    • Internship: University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center
    • Current Position: Pediatric Pain Psychology Fellow, Stanford Children’s Health
  • Ana Vanessa Wren, PhD
    • Year: 2015 - current
    • Graduate School: Duke University, NC
    • Internship: Stanford Children’s Health
    • Current Position: Pediatric Pain Psychology Fellow, Stanford Children’s Health

Stipend and Benefits

Stanford Children’s Health Center offers fellows a competitive stipend as well as benefits (e.g., medical, dental, vision, disability, life and accident benefits provided, and partial coverage offered for spouses/registered domestic partners and/or children). Paid leave includes: 15 days vacation/personal time off, 5 days conference attendance, 6 weeks pregnancy leave, sick days, and university holidays.

Application Process

Applicatant Requirements

  • All applicants must have:
    • Attended APA-accredited graduate programs in clinical or health psychology (pediatric behavioral medicine)
    • Completed APA-accredited internships
    • Completed all requirements for their Ph.D. prior to beginning the postdoctoral appointment
    • Application deadline is December 15th, 2016. Onsite interviews will occur the 2nd week of February 2017.

Required Application Materials

  • To apply send the following as email attachments to Marianne Elserogy:  
    • Cover letter
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Three letters of recommendation sent by email directly from your recommenders