Explore This Treatment Program


The Pediatric Behavioral Medicine Program (PediBMED) at Mass General for Children (MGfC) includes clinical, research and training activities that focus on improving pediatric health, resilience, and coping with acute and chronic illness in children, adolescents and their families.

About the Program and Our Mission

The Pediatric Behavioral Medicine Program (PediBMED) at MGfC provides specialized care for pediatric patients and families facing acute and chronic illness and injury. The goal of our clinical, research and training programs is to maximize health outcomes while improving coping and quality of life for children, adolescents and their families facing medical challenges.

We aim to support the health and psychological well-being of all children, youth and families with a particular focus on patients’ and families’ needs and priorities and with awareness of the unique needs of the diverse communities we serve.

Read more

The PediBMED program was formally established in 2013 with the mission of developing clinical care, research and training in pediatric psychology. Our team is composed of staff psychologists and psychology trainees providing collaborative integrated care within eight Mass General medical specialty programs (e.g., Cystic Fibrosis, Pediatric Endocrine and Diabetes Center) and MGH Pediatric Primary Care (Integrated Primary Care – IPC) plus four affiliated programs (e.g., Shriner’s Children’s Hospital Burn and Orthopedic Care).

Why Collaborative Care?

We know that medical conditions and procedures can cause a lot of worry and distress for youth and their families. Our team of psychologists and psychiatrists work closely with our specialty medical care teams and our patients to support effective coping.

Collaborative care offers many benefits, including increased access to mental health services, decreased cost and burden of care for patients, as well as opportunities for early intervention to prevent depression and anxiety and improve quality of life.

Who We Serve, Concerns and Conditions We Treat

Patients are usually referred to our team of psychologists by their medical specialists. We work with patients, providers, and families to address common concerns in pediatric illness including:

  • Improving adherence to medical care and treatment
  • Addressing anxiety related to medical conditions and procedures
  • Adjustment to medical conditions
  • Coping with headache and chronic pain
  • Working with schools to support medically complicated students
  • Encopresis and enuresis
  • Feeding difficulties including food refusal and over-selectivity
  • Medically related post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression related to medical illness and conditions
  • Transitioning to adolescence and young adulthood with medical illness

  • Allison White, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Alesandra Caruso, PhD

Collaborations and Embedded Care

Many of our pediatric psychologists work with our medical teams to provide comprehensive care, in which patients are able to see multiple providers in one visit.

Affiliated Programs

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Behavioral Medicine

Our program is dedicated to clinical and research training in Pediatric Psychology. We typically offer a one-year postdoctoral fellowship with a focus on pediatric psychology/behavioral medicine under the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Our nationally recognized department provides care and consultation for both in- and outpatients with co-morbid medical and psychiatric conditions.

Fellowship availability depends on the status of various internal and external funding mechanisms. Typically, we know about the availability of postdoctoral positions for July or September by November of the preceding year.

Read more

The fellowship is a one-year, full-time, clinically focused training experience. Supervised clinical activities will include providing consultation and brief assessment and intervention as an embedded psychologist within our Pediatric Integrated Primary Care Program. Fellows will also provide ongoing psychotherapy/evidenced based treatment in the Outpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic for medically ill youth typically referred by general pediatric, endocrine and gastroenterology programs for issues related to adherence, procedural anxiety and adjustment to diagnosis; behavioral evaluation and intervention within a multi-disciplinary pediatric diabetes clinic; inpatient consultation-liaison services through Shriner’s Hospital for Children with focus on burn injury; and parent guidance consultation for adult patients of the MGH Cancer Center (PACT Program).

Fellows hold clinical appointments in the MGH Department of Psychiatry and academic appointments in the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry. Salary and fringe benefits are competitive. Preferred start date July 1 (flexible up to September 1).

Qualifications for the position include a PhD in Clinical Psychology from an APA-accredited graduate program and an APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship site, preferably in pediatric or clinical child psychology.

The Massachusetts General Hospital is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Minorities and women are strongly urged to apply.

For more detailed program information, please contact Deborah Friedman, PhD, co-director of the MGH Pediatric Behavioral Medicine Program (dfriedman@mgh.harvard.edu).

Our Research

CF Mental Health & Palliative Care Research Program

CF-CBT:  A Cognitive Behavioral Skills Based Program to Promote Emotional Well-Being in Adults with CF

Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Circle of Care Award, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc., FRIEDMA17A0

Co-PIs: Deborah Friedman, PhD & Anna Georgiopoulos, MD (Department of Psychiatry)

  • 8-session CF-specific intervention, developed in partnership with CF community, for prevention of depression and anxiety in adults
  • Integrated in primary CF care; delivered by trained multidisciplinary CF care team members (social work, psychology, psychiatry, nurse, pulmonology)
  • Demonstrated feasibility, acceptability, and positive preliminary outcomes in multicenter pilot study
  • Randomized waitlist-controlled trial at 4 sites is ongoing (FRIEDM18A0)
  • Officium, a CF parent organization, supported an Italian translation (PI: Graziano), and groups working in Australia, Ecuador, Israel and Iran have trained in CF-CBT
eHealth CF-CBT

Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Circle of Care Award and Dutch CF Foundation

Co-PIs: Deborah Friedman, PhD & Anna Georgiopoulos, MD (Department of Psychiatry)

  • Internet-delivered therapist-guided blended care model developed in English and Dutch
  • Dutch pilot of eHealth CF-CBT is ongoing
CF-CBT-A:  A Coping Skills Program to Promote Emotional Well-Being in Teens with CF

Co-PIs: Deborah Friedman, PhD & Anna Georgiopoulos, MD (Department of Psychiatry)

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc., FRIEDMA18A0

  • Developed adolescent adaptation with intervention manual and workbook for teens and parents
  • Multi-center pilot study is underway
Pragmatic Implementation Trial of a CF Primary Palliative Care Intervention

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc., GEORGI20QI0

Co-PIs: Anna Georgioupoulos, MD/Lara Dhingra, PhD

MGH Site Lead: Deborah Friedman, PhD

  • Multi-site implementation trial of a CF-specific primary palliative care intervention comprising provider education; screening-and-triage workflows; best practice treatment guides for high frequency problems; and a quality improvement toolkit

Pediatric Behavioral Medicine Collaboration

Assessing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on MGH Families (AIMS) Study

Archana Basu, Deborah Friedman, Nancy Rotter, Janet Wozniak, Maysa Kaskas, Tamaki Hosoda Urban

  • Characterize families’ experiences of the pandemic in different domains to identify quality improvement opportunities, tailor interventions and supports at the clinic/program level

Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes

Development and Evaluation of The MGfC Diabetes Transitions Program: Participatory Action Research Design

William F. Milton Fund of Harvard University, Ellen O’Donnell & Maria Theodorakakis

  • Assess the feasibility and acceptability of a virtual group and educational program for adolescents and young adults preparing for the eventual transition from pediatric to adult care in diabetes
AIMS Study in the Pediatric Endocrine Program and Diabetes Center at MGfC

Ellen O’Donnell & Tamaki Hosoda Urban

  • Characterize the experience of patients and families impacted by endocrine illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to identify quality improvement opportunities, tailor interventions and supports at the clinic/program level
Type 1 Diabetes EXercise Initiative Pediatric Study (T1DexiP): The Effect of Exercise on Glycemic Control in Youth with Type 1 Diabetes (T1DEXIP)

Ellen O’Donnell

  • A collaboration with jaeb.org to better understand the effect of exercise on blood sugar and quality of life among youth living with type 1 diabetes
A Pilot Study of Traumatic Stress and Illness Management in Youth with Diabetes

Tamaki Hosoda Urban, PhD, JDRF and ADA Fellow

  • To understand the impact of stressful experiences (diabetes burnout, witnessing violence) on the health of adolescents and young adults living with type 1 diabetes

Pediatric Food Allergy

Anxiety and Quality of Life in Children with Food Allergies

Nancy Rotter, PhD
(multisite collaboration with Eastern Michigan University)

  • To understand relationship between anxiety (both general anxiety and food allergy-specific anxiety), Quality of Life and food allergies in children and adolescents with IgE-mediated food allergies and their caregivers
Anxiety about Food Allergies in Children Undergoing Oral Immunotherapy

Nancy Rotter, PhD

  • To understand the frequency and specificity of food allergy related anxiety in children and adolescents undergoing clinical Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)
Quality Improvement Project: Screening for Anxiety in Children with IgE-mediated Food Allergies
  • To identify anxiety and food allergy specific anxiety in children and adolescents and food allergy-specific anxiety in parents/caregivers and provide consultation and guidance to parents/caregivers for those with elevated anxiety

PACT Research

Exploring the Patient Experiences of Early-Phase Oncology Clinical Trial Participants

Cindy Moore

Co-PI; Sponsor-Investigator Debra Lundquist, NP, PhD

  • Aims to describe the patient experience of adults consenting to an early phase clinical trial. Participants are assessed through the transition off trial to define and operationalize key transition points, explore relative distress levels, and ultimately develop targeted interventions to improve the patient experience
  • The study also assesses parent-child communication about cancer, in this context of the parent’s participation in a clinical trial

Related Content

Talk by Dr. Ellen O’Donnell: Building Resiliency in Medically Vulnerable Kids

COVID-19 Parent Resources from the Parenting at a Challenging Time (PACT) Team

COVID 19 Special Edition: Mental Health Vital Signs
The Brain Architects Podcast
Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University

Food Allergy Life and Re-engagement After Lockdown - A Mental Health Perspective
Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team Podcast

Transitioning to a New Normal: Tips for helping children with food allergies adjust to post pandemic life (PDF)
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – New England Chapter

Kids' Transition to Classrooms Won’t Be Easy, but We Can Help
Medpage Today
Archana Basu and Nancy Rotter

Supporting Families of Children with Medical Conditions During COVID-19
Deborah Friedman and Nancy Rotter

Preparing Children for When Their Parents Return to Work
Archana Basu and Nancy Rotter