05| Pediatric Cancer: The Role of a Neuropsychologist – With Dr. Christine Trask (Part 1)

We interviewed Dr. Christine Trask, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, a pediatric neuropsychologist with extensive clinical experience assessing children with various types of cancer.  In Part 1 of our interview with Christine, we discuss:

  • Differences between training in adult neuropsychology and training in pediatric neuropsychology
  • Subspecialty board certification in pediatric neuropsychology: the process of becoming board certified and when it might be a useful career goal
  • Basic biology for the most common cancer subtypes in children (brain cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia)
  • Risk factors and early signs/symptoms of pediatric cancer, including a typical medical workup for a child with early symptoms
  • Differences between adult brain tumors and childhood brain tumors
  • Cancer treatments: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy – advantages and disadvantages of each intervention approach, including implications for mortality and morbidity
  • Similarities and differences with respect to side effects of radiation and chemotherapy
  • The clinical interview for a pediatric cancer referral
  • How to talk about cancer diagnosis and prognosis to children of different ages and developmental levels

About Christine

Christine earned her Ph.D. from St. Louis University.  She started with a focus in behavioral medicine and then transferred to child clinical/pediatric neuropsychology.  She did her internship with Dr. Donna Palumbo at the University of Rochester Medical Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan with Drs. Bruno Giordani and Stan Berent.  She worked in private practice in Rhode Island until being asked to develop pediatric neuropsychology for Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital.  She is currently the director of outpatient pediatric neuropsychology services at Lifespan (RI Health System) and holds an appointment in the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.


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