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  • Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology Program

    Dana-Farber / Children's Hospital Cancer Center logo

    With the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer come many emotional and practical challenges. You don't have to face them alone.

    Our Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology team, part of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, includes social workers, psychologists, resource specialists, and a special educator, all of whom have special expertise in the social, emotional, and psychological aspects of caring for children with cancer.

    Support for the Whole Family

    Cori Liptak with a patient

    When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the entire family is affected. For this reason, our staff provides emotional support and mental health services not only to our patients, but also to parents, siblings, and grandparents.

    We'll work with you to determine which services best meet your family's needs, and share suggestions and strategies for coping with childhood cancer. We'll help you adjust to the impact of diagnosis and treatment. And after treatment, we offer continuing supportive services.

    In addition, Pediatric Resource Program specialists help our on-treatment families access concrete resource support.

    Our social workers and psychologists are on the staff of Dana-Farber's Jimmy Fund Clinic, where your child will receive outpatient care, and Boston Children's Hospital, where our pediatric cancer patients are hospitalized. These professionals work closely with your child's medical teams at both institutions, as well as with other staff members involved in caring for your child and family.

    Our services

    Your family may require different types of support at various times. To meet your needs, we provide the following services throughout your child's care:

    • Individual, couples, and family therapy
    • Play therapy
    • Behavioral techniques to manage anxiety
    • Services specially tailored to adolescents
    • Sibling support and programs
    • Information about financial matters, short-term housing, travel options
    • Referrals to community resources
    • Support groups and workshops for patients and parents
    • Consultation with teachers, students, and school administrators
    • Referrals to chaplains
    • Bereavement services, including support groups
    • Survivorship counseling and education


    Our staff respects the privacy of your family and treats all communication with you as confidential.

    In general, your written consent is required before information can be shared with anyone who is not part of your health care team. Only under certain very limited circumstances does the law require that confidential information be disclosed, including when someone is believed to be at serious risk of hurting himself/herself or another person, or when required during certain legal proceedings.

    The Care Team

    Our care team includes physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers who specialize in working with children with cancer. Our philosophy of care acknowledges that the whole family is affected by a cancer diagnosis, and for that reason, we provide care and support for each family member throughout the various stages of the family’s cancer journey.

    Division of Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology

    James Tulsky, MD, Chair, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care
    Anna Muriel, MD, MPH, Chief, Division of Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology
    Judith August, MSW, LICSW
    Deborah Berk, MSW, LICSW
    Sarah Brand, PhD
    Candice Chow, PhD
    Brian Delaney, PsyD
    Jorge Fernandez, MSW, LICSW
    Amy Grose, MSW, LICSW
    Cori Liptak, PhD
    Chase Samsel, MD, FAAP
    Sarah Tarquini, PhD

    School Liaison Program

    Marybeth Morris, EdM
    Lisa Northman, PhD

    Resource Specialists

    Joseph Chabot, MS
    Lilliana Lopera-Jimenez, BS
    Patricia White, BS


    Colleen Jones, PsyD
    Dana Footer, PsyD
    Erin Swedish, PhD

    Research Assistant

    Danielle Renzi

    Administrative Support Specialist

    Kathleen Ryan

    Contact Us

    To arrange to meet with a member of our Pediatric Psychosocial Unit, please call 617-632-5425 Monday through Friday.

    Patients and families with urgent needs before or after clinic hours, on weekends or holidays should call Dana-Farber's page operator at 617-632-3352. Ask to speak with the Pediatric Psychosocial Unit staff member on call.

    We look forward to helping you and your family.

    Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology Fellowships

    Learn about our Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellowships in Pediatric Oncology, which train candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in pediatric psychosocial oncology.

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  • Ranked #1 for Children

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