I am originally from Madison, Wisconsin, a beautiful city that endures excruciatingly cold winters. I joke with colleagues that my interest in helping those suffering from chronic pain stems from observing people in Madison respond to it's winters. Although I cannot pinpoint the reasons this interest emerged, it has persisted throughout the years, leading me to a professional life in academia involving research, teaching, and clinical work. Some of my research involved examining the biological pathways in which stress influences pain. I was fortunate to serve as a reviewer for the National Institute of Health and gained direct access to cutting-edge research. When not involved in research, I taught, an experience that blends well with my current clinical work as oftentimes the most important tool I provide is knowledge. I feel privileged to apply my experience at Kaiser Permanente's pain clinic.
Many of our valued members have asked me, "what does a pain psychologist do?" My response is simple: "help you manage your pain to the point that you define your life quality, not your pain." This is not an individual but a team effort that involves a wonderful group of pain clinicians, nurses, social workers, a pain physical therapist, and medical assistants who work to help our members attain their goals. My philosophy emphasizes learning about patients' symptoms by learning about their lives.
Often I tell patients that successful pain management is not a ladder they can climb with their hands in their pockets. This saying highlights the active role that one must take in managing his/her pain. I apply the same philosophy to managing my health through consistent exercise, laughter, stress management, and socialization. I love jogging along different paths in the Pacific Northwest and laughing with family and friends.