Research Assistant Professor
I am a fellowship-trained health psychologist and director of the Pilot Studies Program in the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the University at Buffalo. My program develops and tests self-management programs for persistent pain disorders. I also develop and refine treatment manuals designed to help clinicians test and disseminate standardized interventions in order to consistently administer effective treatments.
My research goals are twofold: to better understand the predictors of treatment response, including co-morbid psychiatric disorders, personality variables, coping strategies, social environment, family factors; and to eventually identify the neurobiological underpinnings of treatment response to clarify how cognitive behavioral therapy CBT exerts its effects.
In addition to my clinical research program, I have more than 10 years of clinical experience assessing and treating patients struggling with chronic pain. I provide clinical care through UBMD internal medicine at the UB Behavioral Medicine Clinic. My practice provides behavioral treatments for medical patients with chronic illnesses ranging from traumatic brain injury, migraines, low back pain and multiple sclerosis to irritable bowel syndrome. I believe that the goal of behavioral counseling for chronic pain is less about lowering pain levels on a scale and more about helping patients develop strategies and skills that improve their quality of life. This process varies for every patient, but most often involves patients becoming involved in goal-directed activities with family, friends, recreational activities, and hobbies. For many patients, the goal is to reduce dependence on medications by learning more adaptive self-management skills.