Areas of Expertise:
Adolescent pregnancy and parenting, Dialectical behavioral therapy, Grief and bereavement, Motivational interviewing, Pain and stress management, Pediatric psychology, Substance abuse disorders, Trauma and mood disorders, Trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy
Locations: Main Campus
In her role as clinical psychologist for the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment (CFDT), Joanna Cole, PhD, CD(DONA), is an integral part of the psychosocial service team available to families facing the diagnosis of a birth defect. Working closely with the medical team, social workers and child life specialists, Dr. Cole provides comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and counseling, ensuring that families feel emotionally supported every step of the way.
In collaboration with the Center’s social workers, Dr. Cole assesses families’ understanding, readiness, coping mechanisms and chronic life stressors in order to identify how the news of a fetal diagnosis might intensify symptoms of distress. Her work includes evaluating for preexisting mental health conditions or issues of safety, and determining the risk for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.
An important element of Dr. Cole’s role in the CFDT and Special Delivery Unit is providing supportive psychotherapy to identify, understand and help balance the emotional toll of a complex pregnancy within the context of other life stressors. Dr. Cole counsels individuals, couples, siblings, and family members on effective coping strategies, communication and emotional preparation for different stages in the medical experience, from pregnancy and delivery through the intensive care stay and well after discharge.
Dr. Cole also provides options counseling and grief support and is involved in the development of an expanded Perinatal Palliative and Bereavement Care Program within the CFDT, committed to helping families plan for and cope with the death of a baby or the knowledge that their baby might not survive.
Dr. Cole’s research interests include the development of a mental health screening tool that identifies significant symptoms of anxiety, stress, trauma or depression among expectant parents. This research will help to identify risk factors and provide therapeutic intervention at the earliest possible point of care, with the goal of decreasing symptoms of trauma and depression in the postpartum period. She is also in the process of developing therapeutic support groups for mothers.
Dr. Cole joined the Center in 2012. She earned her PhD in Clinical and School Psychology from the University of Virginia. She completed a pediatric psychology internship and an adolescent and young adult health fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She is also a certified birth doula and is trained as an alcoholism and substance abuse counselor. In addition, Dr. Cole is a member of the Postpartum Support International network and is one of the members of the National Perinatal Association working to develop guidelines that define clinical support for parents during their child’s time in intensive care. She has completed Postpartum Support International’s Components of Care, a nationally recognized, evidence-based approach to working with perinatal mood disorders.
- Education and Training
Pre-doctoral Psychology Internship - Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Post-doctoral Psychology Fellowship - Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Birth Doula Certification Program - DONA International, Boston, MA
Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee - National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Rochester, NY
Certified Birth Doula
PhD in Clinical and School Psychology - University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
MS - University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
- Titles and Academic Titles
- Departments and Services
Cornell, D. & Cole, J. (2012). Assessment of Bullying. In S. Jimerson, A. Nickerson, M. Mayer, & M. Furlong (Eds.), The Handbook of School Violence and School Safety: International Research and Practice, 2nd Edition (pp. 289 – 303). Routledge.
Cole, J., DeMaso, D., & Walter, H.: Suicide and Attempted Suicide. In R. Kliegman, B.Stanton, N. Schor, J. St. Geme, & R. Behrman (Eds.), Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th Edition, Elsevier Saunders: Philadelphia, 2011, Ch.25. pp. 87-89.
Posters and Presentations
Chadwick, S., Kasperski, S.,Cole, J., & Munson, D. (2014, October). A Multidisciplinary Care Model for the Family Carrying a Fetus with a Congenital Anomaly- A Primer for Support. National Society for Genetic Counselors.
Cole, J., Shaughnessy, E., & Ousley, H. (2014, October). Promoting Positive Attachment Inutero: Supporting Families Carrying a Baby with a Birth Defect. Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health, Sixth Annual Conference to be held in Harrisburg, PA.
Chadwick, S., Kasperski, S., Cole, J., Shaughnessy, E., & Munson, D. (2014, September). Perinatal Palliative Care and Bereavement: Establishing a Compassionate, Multidisciplinary Program for Families Facing a Life-Limiting Prenatal Diagnosis. National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Education Conference, New Orleans, LA.
Cole, J. (2014, September). Screening for Antepartum Depressive Risk among Expectant Parents with a Confirmed Fetal Abnormality. International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society, Chatham, MA.
Cole, J. & Shaughnessy, E. (2014, September). Fetal Surgery and Bed Rest: A Collaborative Post-Operative Approach for Providing Therapeutic Support to Mothers and their Families. International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society, Chatham, MA.
Cole, J. (2014, August). Psychological Screening among Expectant Parents Carrying Babies with Confirmed Fetal Anomalies. American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Washington DC.
Smith, H., Martino, V., & Cole, J. (2014, August) Screening for Depression and PTSD Risk in Fathers Expecting a Baby with a Confirmed Fetal Anomaly. Poster presented at American Psychological Association Annual 2014 Convention, Washington DC.
Cole, J., Hertzog, J., Martino, V., Shaughnessy, E., & Palmer, L. (2014, June). Caring for the Fetus and the Family: Psychosocial Support for Families Carrying Babies with a Birth Defect. Poster presented at Postpartum Support International 2014 Conference, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.
Smith, H., Martino, V., & Cole, J. (2014, June). Screening for Depression in Expectant Parents with a Confirmed Fetal Abnormality. Poster presented at Postpartum Support International 2014 Conference, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.
Cole, J. (2014, March). Termination, Inutero Demise, Palliative Care, and Bereavement: Ways to Support Families. Maternity Care Coalition, Philadelphia, PA
Cole, J. (2014, March). Perinatal PTSD and the NICU Course: Strategies for Support. Neonatal Nursing Conference, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.
Cole, J. (2014, March). Nursing and Mental Health Collaboration: Caring for Pregnant Women Struggling with Addiction. University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia, PA.
Martino, V., Smith, H., & Cole, J. (2014, March). Identifying Psychological Risk among Expectant Adolescent and Young Adult Women Carrying Babies with a Birth Defect. Poster presented at Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
Cole, J. (2014, February). Understanding the Spectrum of Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Disorders. Neonatal Nursing and Obstetrical Grand Rounds, Chester County Hospital, PA.
Cole, J. (2013, November). Identifying Expectant Mothers and Fathers at Risk for PTSD in Response to a Confirmed Fetal Abnormality. Perinatal Mental Health Conference: Optimizing Maternal Treatment to Improve Infant Outcomes, Chicago, IL.
Cole, J. (2013, October). Supporting Expectant Parents: Psychological Assessment and Intervention within a Fetal Center. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Psychology Seminar, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.
Moldenhauer, J., & Cole, J. (2013, October). Offering Multidisciplinary Care for Women and Families in the CFDT & SDU. Meet the Experts: Innovations in Fetal Medicine Conference, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.
Cole, J. (2013, September). Psychosocial Services: Supporting CFDT Patients and Families through the Prenatal and Postpartum Course. Special Delivery Unit and Practice Improvement Series, Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.
Cole, J. (2013, September). Psychological Support for Parents in the CFDT, SDU, N/IICU and CICU. Neonatal Surgical Education Day, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.
Cole, J. (2013, September). Identification and Intervention with Perinatal/Postpartum Mood Disorders. Neonatal Nursing and Obstetrical Grand Rounds, Holy Redeemer Hospital, PA.
Cole, J. (2013, April). Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Clinical Conference; Division of Neonatology, Philadelphia, PA.
Cole, J. (2013, February). Identification and Intervention: Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Special Delivery Unit and Practice Improvement Series, Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.
Cole, J. (2012, March). Identifying and Treating PTSD Among Traumatized Youth: Individual and Group Interventions. Clinical workshop presentation for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Awards and Honors
2010, American Psychological Foundation Weiss Visionary Funds Grant Program
2009, Boston University School of Medicine Alpert Grant from the Department of Pediatrics
2008, Jane Addams Fund Departmental Award, Boston Children's Hospital
2008, 2006, National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism Travel Award
2007, Jane Addams Fund Departmental Award, Boston Children's Hospital
2006, 2005, Curry School of Education Clinical and School Psychology Travel Awards
2005, Doctoral Research Award in Education Science, University of Virginia
2005, College on Problems of Drug Dependence: Primm-Singleton Minority Award
2005, Nathan E. Johnson Memorial Scholarship
Memberships in Professional Organizations
American Psychological Association
Doulas of North America (DONA) International
International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health
National Perinatal Association
Postpartum Support International
Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
- Awards and Honors