Maru Barrera
Pediatric Health-Clinical Psychologist, Sick Kids Hospital

Dr. Maru Barrera obtained her Master degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC and her Ph.D from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Since 1992 she has been a Pediatric Health-Clinical Psychologist in the division of Hematology/Oncology, and Department of Psychology at Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto, ON. As well, she is a Senior Associate Scientist in the Research Institute, Children Health and Evaluation Sciences Program, Sick Kids Hospital; and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto in Medical Sciences, and Education. As a clinician scientist, she has developed several group intervention programs for children who survive a brain tumor and for siblings of children who are treated for cancer. She has evaluated the efficacy of these programs using randomized controlled trials. These interventions programs used primarily cognitive behavioral techniques (problem solving, role playing) but integrated some component of mindfulness and acceptance approaches including being fully present, loving kindness and being compassionate with self and others. As a clinician, Dr. Barrera also uses mindfulness based practices with children/adolescents who are treated for cancer and their parents, either individually or as a family.

She has published over 100 scientific articles in high impact scientific medical and psychological journals. She has been recognized nationally (Canadian Association of Psycho-Oncology), and provincially (Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario) for her work in the field. As well, she has been recognized in the hospital for her dedication to mentoring trainees (Mentorship Award, Psychology). Finally, she is frequently sought after by parents’ organizations to speak about how to manage the demands of treatment and uncertainty of survival of the treated child, and parenting of the child with cancer and the siblings.

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