Pediatric Pain Program

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To manage pain and disease symptoms in children, adolescents, and young adults through creative use of the arts, biomedical sciences, and complementary healing practices, and a focus on the family.

Population Served

The Pediatric Pain Program serves children and young adults suffering from the struggles of living with chronic pain.

Types of Services

The UCLA Pediatric Pain Program offers state-of-the-art medicine in combination with the regenerative power of complementary therapies to treat children suffering from chronic pain. Patients choose from a variety of healing modalities ranging from acupuncture to art therapy. The staff works as a team to develop an individualized approach for each child that involves active participation of the child and family. Collective wisdom and coordinated care greatly enhance the effectiveness of treatment.

Current Clinical Programs

The clinical program is designed to evaluate and treat infants, children, adolescents, and young adults who have complex chronic pain or other ongoing symptoms. A comprehensive evaluation and management of the patient population is undertaken, as well as a weekly multidisciplinary team conference. The team includes pediatrics, psychiatry and psychology, and independent practitioners in acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, physical therapy, energy work, yoga, art therapy

Current Research

In the Pediatric Pain Research Laboratory, we study children’s responses to brief sensory experiences of cold, heat, and pressure, documenting their level of tolerance, coping style, pain ratings, and verbal reports of how much it bothered them. We also study the effect of pain management strategies such as distraction, hypnosis, humor, and touch on children’s pain. In this way, we are uncovering mind-body pathways leading to pain vulnerability and pain tolerance. A major part of this process involves monitoring children’s physiological reactions, including a measure of the nervous system control of heart function (cardiac vagal tone), electrical activity of the heart (by electrocardiogram), respiration, pulse, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol (a measure of the body’s response to stress). In addition, we measure pubertal hormone levels, mood and other psychological changes, and physical development. Whenever possible, we try to compare test results between parents and children as a way of identifying familial patterns that may benefit from intervention.

Faculty and Staff


  • Lonnie Zeltzer, M.D.
    Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
    Associate Director, Patients and Survivors Program
    UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center


  • Lonnie Zeltzer, M.D.
  • Raffi Tachdjian, M.D.

Other faculty and staff

  • Jennie C. I. Tsao, PhD.
    Research Director
    Associate Professor of Pediatrics
  • Elana E. Evan, PhD, Clinical Psychologist
  • Ping Ho, MA, MPH, Director of Educational Outreach
  • Subhadra Evans, PhD, Developmental Psychologist
  • Laura B. Allen, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Research Scholar
  • Rebecca Taub, Research Assistant
  • Jackie Kim, Research Assistant

Clinical Consultants

  • Debra Bendell-Estroff, Ph.D. – Clinical Psychology/Human Development
  • Carolyn Coleridge, MSW – Energy Healer & Reiki
  • Kathryn de Planque, Ph.D. – Hypnotherapy
  • Esther Dreifuss-Kattan, Ph.D., ATR – Art Therapy
  • Elana Evan, Ph.D. – Child Clinical Psychologist
  • Sean Hampton, M.P.T. – Physical Therapy
  • Susan Kaiser Greenland, J.D. – Mindfulness based training/meditation
  • Samantha Levy, Ph.D. – Child and Family Therapy
  • Monica Morton, RN, LMT – Massage Therapy
  • Diane Poladian, P.T. – Biofeedback, Physical Therapy
  • Shelley Segal, Psy.D. – Clinical/Health Psychology
  • Chris Slate, LMT, CST-D – Craniosacral Therapy
  • Beth Sternlieb, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, Iyengar Yoga
  • Mike Waterhouse, M.A., L.Ac. – Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs
  • Erin Wilson – Massage Therapy


  • Ixel Gonzalez – Administrative Assistant
  • Nancy Ruvalcaba, B.A. – Program Manager and Clinical Care Coordinator
  • Brian Rosenbaum, Administrative Assistan

Selected Center’s Accomplishments

Large grant from NIH to examine pain responses in parents and children.

Grant from the Mayday Foundation to examine pain and associated genetic factors

Research grant from the Susan G. Koman Foundation to examine the efficacy of expressive writing among Chinese breast cancer survivors.

Research grant from NCI to develop culturally sensitive psychosocial interventions for Chinese breast cancer survivors.

The Unihealth Foundation awarded funds to Dr Zeltzer and Dr Evan to establish the Children’s Comfort Care Resource Program (CCCRP). The program is dedicated to improving the care of children’s pain and palliative care. The CCCRP provides education/resource materials, presentations, and panel discussion groups for professional healthcare staff in order to promote awareness, improve quality of care, and support research for children with serious illnesses.

Location and Contact Information

Pediatric Pain Program

Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
22-464 MDCC, 10833 Le Conte Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1752
310-825-0731 (Tel.)
310-794-2104 (Fax)

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