Christina Szperka, MD, MSCE, has been interested in the treatment of chronic pain since she was an undergraduate at Amherst College, Amherst, MA, and focused on pediatric pain while pursuing her medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

Dr. Szperka completed residencies in pediatrics and child neurology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, and a fellowship in headache medicine at The Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.  She is board certified in Headache Medicine.

Dr. Szperka divides her time between patient care and projects aimed at improving the treatment of children with headaches across CHOP and beyond. In 2013, she was named director of the newly formed Pediatric Headache Program. She has received grants to improve clinical care of and treatment options for headache.

Education and Training

Medical School

MD - Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT


Pediatrics - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


Pediatrics - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Child Neurology - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


Headache - Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA

Additional Training

Mentor Training for Clinical & Behavioral Researchers - University of Pennsylvania/Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Board Certification

Headache Medicine
Child Neurology

Graduate Degree

MSCE - University of Pennsylvania, Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Philadelphia, PA

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Director, Pediatric Headache Program

Assistant Professor of Neurology in Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Departments and Services




Chelsea M. Hesterman, Christina L. Szperka (co-first authors), Dana P. Turner: Reasons for Manuscript Rejection After Peer Review From the Journal Headache. Headache. 2018 Jul 16. doi: 10.1111/head.13343. [Epub ahead of print]

Beres SJ, Sheldon CA, Boisvert CJ, Szperka CL, Paley GL, Burrows EK, Chilutti MR, Liu GW, McCormack SE, Liu GT. Clinical and Prognostic Significance of Cerebrospinal Fluid Opening and Closing Pressures in Pediatric Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome. Pediatr Neurol. 2018 Jun;83:50-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2018.02.011. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Patterson-Gentile C, Szperka CL. The Changing Landscape of Pediatric Migraine Therapy: A Review. JAMA Neurol. 2018 Mar 12. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.0046. [Epub ahead of print]

Patel AD, Berg AT, Billinghurst L, Fain D, Fecske E, Feyma T, Grinspan Z, Houtrow A, Kothare S, Kumar G, Lee E, Monduy M, Morita D, Szperka CL, Victorio MC, Yeh A, Buchhalter JR. Quality improvement in neurology: Child neurology quality measure set: Executive summary. Neurology. 2018 Jan 9;90(2):67-73. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004806. Epub 2017 Dec 15. No abstract available.


Szperka CL, Gelfand AA, Hershey AD. Patterns of Use of Peripheral Nerve Blocks and Trigger Point Injections for Pediatric Headache: Results of a Survey of the American Headache Society Pediatric and Adolescent Section. Headache. 2016 Nov;56(10):1597-1607. doi: 10.1111/head.12939. Epub 2016 Oct 12.


Carrie O. Dougherty, Michael J. Marmura, Zuhal Ergonul, Larry Charleston, and Christina L. Szperka: Emergency and Inpatient Treatment of Migraine: An American Headache Society Survey. British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research 4(20): 3800-3813, 2014.


Florance NR, Davis RL, Lam C, Szperka C, Zhou L, Ahmad S, Campen CJ, Moss H, Peter N, Gleichman AJ, Glaser CA, Lynch DR, Rosenfeld MR, Dalmau J: Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis in children and adolescents. Annals of Neurology 66(1): 11-8, Jul 2009.




Sheldon CA, Lin GL, Szperka CL, McCormack SE, Liu GT.  : Pediatric pseudotumor cerebri syndrome. Practical management of pediatric ocular disorders and strabismus. Traboulsi EI, Utz V, Ariss M, eds. (eds.). Springer Science 2016.


Szperka CL & Smith D: Chapter 16: What are the most common types of headache in children? Curbside Consultation in Pediatric Neurology: 49 Clinical Questions Daniel Licht & Nicole Ryan (eds.). Slack Incorporated, July 2015.

Szperka CL & Robbins E: Chapter 19: Are there ways to prevent migraines? What lifestyle factors contribute to headaches? Curbside Consultation in Pediatric Neurology: 49 Clinical Questions  Daniel Licht & Nicole Ryan (eds.). Slack Incorporated, July 2015.


Szperka CL and Narula S: Headache. Pediatric Neurocritical Care. NS Abend and MA Helfaer (eds.). Demos Medical, November 2012.


Szperka CL: Headache. Netter Pediatrics. Florin TA and Ludwig S (eds.). Elsevier Saunders, Page: 471-478, 2011.

Posters and Presentations


Sara Fridinger, MD & Christina Szperka, MD, MSCE: Effectiveness of Intravenous Dihydroergotamine for Pediatric Headache: Does Headache Diagnosis Matter? American Academy of Neurology 70th Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA.  April 2018 Notes: Presented April 25th, 2018

Sara Fridinger, MD & Christina Szperka, MD, MSCE: The cardiovascular impact of intravenous dihydroergotamine for pediatric headache patients American Academy of Neurology 70th Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA.  April 2018 Notes: Presented April 24, 2018.

AA Kohli, A Vossough, RM Mallery, J Woo, GL Paley, CA Sheldon, GT Liu, CL Szperka: The Persistence of MRI Findings in Pediatric Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome. North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society 44th Annual Meeting (poster), Hawaii, The Big Island March 2018 Notes: Presented March 6, 2018.


Szperka, Christina L & Rondinelli, Monica J: Intranasal Dihydroergotamine for Headache Exacerbations in Children and Adolescents. American Headache Society 59th Annual Scientific Meeting, Boston, MAPoster Presentation June 2017.

Invited Lectures

Szperka C. "Procedures in Special Populations (Pediatrics, Pregnancy, Geriatrics) with Cases"  as part of the Course: A Practical Approach to Procedures in Headache Medicine: A Review of Current Evidence and Cases in Clinical Practice.  American Headache Society 60th Annual Scientific Meeting, San Francisco, CA. Jun, 2018.

Szperka C. "Diagnosis & ED/Inpatient treatment of Headaches"  Virtua-Voorhees Hospital - Pediatric Grand Rounds. Nov, 2017.

Szperka C. "Painful Neurology - Headache Cases" Advances in Stroke and Foundations of Neurologic Practice 2017 (CME course), Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Nov, 2017.

Szperka C. "Leveraging the Electronic Medical Record for Headache Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric/Adolescent Patients". Clinical Informatics Pre-Meeting Course, Scottsdale Headache Symposium. Nov, 2017.

Szperka C. "Pediatric Headache" Interview for PBS Documentary. Jun, 2017.

Szperka C. "Pediatric Patient and Parent Goals and Preferences for Preventive Headache Treatment," Platform Presentation, American Headache Society 59th Annual Scientific Meeting, Boston, MA. Jun, 2017.

Szperka C. "Update on Pediatric & Adolescent Headache". American Academy of Neurology. Breakthroughs in Neurology Conference, Phoenix, AZ. Jan, 2017.

Awards and Honors

2018, Philadelphia Magazine, Top Doctors in Child Neurology
2017, Exceptional Women in Medicine
2016-2018, Top Doctors in Philadelphia, Child Neurology
2016, Emerging Leaders Program, American Headache Society
2015, Participant, CHOP Clinical Quality Improvement Course
2015-2017, Main Line Today's Top Doctors in Pediatric Neurology
2014, Participant, International Headache Academy, Scottsdale, AZ
2014, Participant, Women in Leadership Program
2010, Scottsdale Headache Symposium Scholarship Award Recipient, American Headache Society, Scottsdale, AZ

Editorial and Academic Positions

Editorial Positions

2017-present, Peer Reviewer, JAMA Neurology
2013-present, Peer Reviewer, Cephalalgia
2012-present, Peer Reviewer, Pediatric Emergency Care
2011-present, Peer Reviewer, Headache

Academic and Institutional Committees

2011-present, CHOP Neurology Quality & Patient Safety Committee

Leadership and Memberships

Memberships in Professional Organizations


2018-present, American Academy of Neurology Headache Outcome Measures Revision Workgroup
2017-present, National Institutes of Neurological Disorders & Stroke
 - Common Data Elements Revision Workgroup
2017-present, American Registry for Migraine Research
 - 2017-present, Scientific Advisory Board
2010-present, American Headache Society
 - 2018-present, Membership Committee
 - 2018-present, Clinical Informatics Section, Chair
 - 2016-present, Clinical Informatics Section
 - 2010-present, Pediatrics Section
2007-present, Child Neurology Society
 - 2014-present, Headache Special Interest Group
2007-present, American Academy of Neurology
 - 2012-present, Headache and Facial Pain Section
 - 2012-present, Child Neurology Section