Meet Dr. Melissa K. Cousino Hood



We are excited to introduce Dr. Melissa Cousino Hood, Ph.D. of the Enduring Hearts Scientific Advisory Committee!

Dr. Melissa K. Cousino received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve University where she served as an appointee on a National Institute of Health (NIH) training grant in pediatric psychology. Prior to joining the University of Michigan faculty in 2015, Dr. Cousino completed her psychology internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School where she continued specialized training in pediatric psychology and pediatric palliative care. Currently, Dr. Cousino serves as the Director of Psychosocial Services and Research for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center. Clinically, she provides care to pediatric heart transplant patients and families to promote coping, foster quality of life, and address transplant-related challenges, such as adherence to a treatment regimen, anxiety related to procedures/treatment, and transition to adult care. Dr. Cousino is a leading pediatric cardiology and transplant psychology researcher. Her program of psychosocial and health communication research was first funded by Enduring Hearts and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) in 2016, leading to her two current NIH-funded grants. In addition to her role with Enduring Hearts, she serves on the ISHLT Scientific Program Committee and is a Co-Chair/Leader of Patient and Family Experience initiatives for Advanced Cardiac Therapies Improving Outcomes Network (ACTION).




Q: What made you decide to go into medicine and focusing on specifically pediatric heart transplantation?

A: As an undergraduate student, I volunteered with a number of organizations serving children with chronic illnesses. This ignited in me a passion for working with pediatric populations – particularly from the emotional/behavioral health side of things! I was particularly drawn to pediatric heart transplantation after recognizing the significant need for increased psychology services and research during my training years.

Q: What new emerging technologies are most exciting to you personally/professionally?

A: I am really excited about the use of virtual reality technologies to help kids and teens cope with procedures and hospitalizations!

Q: What area would you like to see more research funding?

A: Mental health/psychology research, with emphasis on intervention science.

Q: On a more personal note, what was your favorite toy growing up?

A: Arts/crafts and my school teacher kit.

Q: As a child, what were your favorite tv shows or Disney movies?

A: As a child? I still love Disney movies! Favorites include Toy Story and Moana.


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