Principal Investigator and Lab Director
Jessika Boles, Ph.D., CCLS, is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and is the lead investigator of the CHILL lab. With a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Rhodes College, a master’s degree in Child Studies from the department in which she now works, and her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Memphis, Dr. Boles’ work and research are grounded in her thirteen years of work as a hospital-based Certified Child Life Specialist. With clinical expertise in caring for children and adolescents with cancer (at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital) and supporting children and families in the pediatric intensive care unit (at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt), Dr. Boles conducts research that helps patients and families describe their healthcare experiences and advocate for their needs. Composed of faculty and students of varied academic levels, backgrounds, and professional interests, the CHILL lab team focused on enhancing patient- and family-centered Children’s Healthcare across Illness, Loss, and Legacy.
M.Ed Child Studies (Clinical & Developmental Research), expected completion 2024
Briana Keller is a current master’s student at Vanderbilt. Her goals include expanding and optimizing psychosocial care for hospitalized children and their families. She hopes to go on to doctoral study and a career in research.