July 15, 2021

Jaser to lead new Pediatric Psychology division

Sarah Jaser, PhD, associate professor of Pediatrics, has been named the inaugural director for the new Division of Pediatric Psychology within the Department of Pediatrics.


by Christina Echegaray

Sarah Jaser, PhD

Sarah Jaser, PhD, associate professor of Pediatrics, has been named the inaugural director for the new Division of Pediatric Psychology within the Department of Pediatrics.

Jaser is overseeing the formation of the new division, which launched July 1, to address the rising needs for psychology services for children with acute and chronic medical conditions who are served throughout the department and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

The division includes seven pediatric psychologists and researchers working across a variety of clinical settings, including diabetes, oncology, inpatient hospital services, cystic fibrosis, gastroenterology and the transplant team. The psychology team will also work closely with colleagues in the Division of Developmental Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry to align and enhance services for young patients.

“The formation of this new division is an important step forward for the department in the continued delivery of high-quality psychology services to the children we serve throughout many of our divisions and centers,” said Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Pediatrician-in-Chief of Children’s Hospital and James C. Overall Professor.

“Bringing our faculty who deliver these services together in a single division offers an administrative and academic home and allows us to provide support and a strong community for our faculty members’ ongoing work.”

Jaser, who has been at Vanderbilt since 2012, is a clinician scientist who has dedicated her career to identifying risk and protective factors for children and adolescents with diabetes.

“Dr. Jaser is an ideal choice for this role, as she is a nationally recognized leader in the field of pediatric psychology, and has a demonstrated track record of advocacy for faculty at all levels,” Webber said.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Jaser and our faculty in this newly formed division to continue to advance our clinical, education and research efforts in this vitally important area. I am so thankful to Dr. Jaser for her willingness to take on this important new leadership role and eagerly look forward to the amazing contributions the group will continue to make.”

Jaser said that team members will continue working within the medical specialties in which they are currently embedded.

“We’ve all been working closely within various medical specialties, but this will also now give us a chance to have an administrative and academic home,” she said. “Our group has a number of unique needs including for continuing education and credentialing, and this will give us a chance to provide each other with mentorship and support, as well as providing enhanced opportunities for faculty development. There will also be more opportunities for us to collaborate on research projects and develop new initiatives.”

Jaser earned her bachelor of psychology degree from Yale University and went on to complete a master’s and PhD in clinical psychology at Vanderbilt University.

She did her postgraduate training as a postdoctoral associate at Yale University School of Nursing, after which she joined the faculty as a research scientist, while also working as a private practice clinical psychologist.

In her work at Vanderbilt, Jaser studies risk and protective factors in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. She has demonstrated the effects of adolescent coping, maternal adjustment and parenting on adolescents’ glycemic control and quality of life. She is currently developing and testing interventions to improve outcomes in youth with diabetes and their families.

“I am very excited to be in this new role,” Jaser said. “I would like to acknowledge Lynn Walker, PhD, who paved the way for this division. She was one of the first psychologists in the Department of Pediatrics and then served as division chief for Adolescent Medicine, and it was her clinical work and research that really demonstrated the value of pediatric psychology in the department.”