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Heather F. Russell, PHD

  • Psychology

Heather F. Russell, Ph.D., started her working years in a genetics lab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), receiving and analyzing blood samples from children with rare disorders. After working in the lab, she decided she would be much happier and more fulfilled working with children and their families face-to-face. Her plan was to become a physician who worked with and emotionally supported children with serious diseases and their families. Around that time, Dr. Russell was able to volunteer with the child life department at CHOP and realized that the primary member of the medical team who provided the families with emotional support was actually the psychologist. She therefore decided to enroll in graduate school for psychology and, after 10 years of further training, became a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Russell has had the pleasure of working at Shriners Children's for the past 20 years.

Dr. Russell received her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and earned her doctorate degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Russell completed her internship at duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and her postdoctoral fellowship at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Russell’s clinical expertise is in working with children with physical disabilities, including spinal cord injury, and their families, in order to better understand and facilitate the coping and adjustment processes, with the ultimate goal of optimizing psychosocial outcomes.

Pediatric Care

More About Me

Education and Training

Graduate School
La Salle University
Philadelphia, PA

A. I. DuPont Institute
Wilmington, DE

Graduate School
Temple University Hospital
Philadelphia, PA

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA

Leadership and Memberships
  • 2015–Present: Member, Pan-European Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury Collaboration
  • 2012–Present: Founding Member & Chair, Ethics Committee, Shriners Children's Philadelphia
  • 2010–Present: Fellow, American Spinal Injury Association; Pediatric Committee Member (2010–2017); Program Committee (2010–2023) – Co-Chair (2015-2018) Chair (2019); Membership Committee Member (2017–2023); Steel Assembly Founding Member (2017–Present); Awards Committee (2023-Present)
  • 2008–Present: Member, Ethics Committee, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2001–Present: Member, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (ASCIP); ASCIP Governance Board (2015–2021) – Vice President (2017-2019); PSWC Board of Directors (2011–2021) – President (2015-2019); PSWC Clinical Practice Committee (2006–2017) – Chair (2007-2011); ASCIP Clinical Practice Committee (2010–2017) – Chair (2012-2015)
  • 2001–Present: Fellow, Pennsylvania Psychological Association; 1993–Present: Member, American Psychological Association; Division 22 – Rehabilitation Psychology; Division 54 - The Society of Pediatric Psychology
Editorial Positions
  • Reviewer, Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine
  • Reviewer, Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Awards and Honors
  • 2020: Fellow, American Spinal Injury Association
  • 2019: Leadership Service Award, American Spinal Injury Association
  • 2019: Essie Morgan Lecturer, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, Nashville, TN
  • 2017: Leadership Service Award, American Spinal Injury Association
  • 2015: Award Winning Poster Presentation (Top 5), Combined International Spinal Cord Society and American Spinal Injury Association Conference, Montreal, Canada
  • 2014: Clinical Performance Award, Psychology & Social Work Section, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professional
Providers Academic Works And Presentations Accordion Title
  • Presentation/Instructional Course: Essentials of Pediatric Orthopedics Conference, Philadelphia, PA. How to help your patients cope with COVID anxiety. (2021)
  • Presentation/Instructional Course: Academy of Spinal Cord Injury, Pint-sized pearls of wisdom: What kids can teach us about working with adults. (2020)
  • Presentation/Instructional Course: American Spinal Injury Association, Honolulu, HI, How Can We Help You? An Update on The Standards of Professional Practice for Psychologists, Social Workers and Counselors in the Field of SCI Rehabilitation. (2019)
  • Presentation/Instructional Course: Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, Nashville, TN., Essie Morgan Lectureship, Pint-sized pearls of wisdom: What kids can teach us about working with adults. (2019)
  • Presentation/Instructional Course: American Spinal Injury Association, Rochester, MN Ouch… That hurts! Understanding, assessing, and treating pain in youth from a multidisciplinary perspective. (2018)


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