Melissa Cousino, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Medical School
    Department of Pediatrics
    Division of Pediatric Psychology


As the attending psychologist to the pediatric heart and kidney transplant teams, Dr. Cousino’s clinically-informed research efforts include the study of patient and family adjustment and quality of life in pediatric solid organ transplantation, healthcare communication and decision-making in pediatric medicine, and ethical issues in pediatric solid organ transplantation. Her research brings together the fields of pediatric psychology, medicine, bioethics, and palliative care to improve the delivery of patient-centered care to young people facing a potential for shortened life expectancy.

Dr. Cousino is currently funded by the National Institute of Health to investigate adolescent and young adult medical decision making involvement and preferences in a pediatric advanced heart disease population. In addition, Dr. Cousino leads a study funded by the Department of Pediatrics Jeanette Ferrantino Investigator Award aimed at understanding current provider practices and barriers related to engaging young people in difficult healthcare discussions.

Overall, Dr. Cousino’s novel program of research aims to improve the ways in which providers and parents include young people in important conversations and decisions related to their disease management to enhance long-term physical and emotional outcomes. She has been invited to present this research at conferences and meetings throughout the world. Dr. Cousino is also actively involved in intervention-based research to improve communication between medical trainees (students/residents), patients and families.

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