Jessika Boles, PhD, CCLS
Jessika is a Certified Child Life Specialist and team lead at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. In her current positions and her prior tenure at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Dr. Boles has served infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with chronic, life-threatening, or terminal illnesses and injuries. The diversity of her educational background - a bachelor of arts in Religious Studies from Rhodes College, a master's of education in Applied Child Studies from Vanderbilt University, and a doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Memphis - shapes her clinical work and research, both of which aim to break down the discursive barriers that can limit children's understanding of and participation in their healthcare experiences. Her publications and presentations similarly address topics such as children’s involvement in healthcare research, their conceptions of abstract constructs such as legacy and loss, and the ways in which they access and respond to medical information. Additionally, Dr. Boles is a former board member of the Association of Child Life Professionals and regularly contributes her time to institutional initiatives for improving bereavement care, increasing patient mobility, and mitigating trauma and distress in pediatric critical care environments.