Meet Our Team

Rachael Coakley, Ph.D.

Program Director

Dr. Rachael Coakley is the Director of Clinical Innovation and Outreach in Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is also an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Coakley specializes in teaching children, adolescents and parents/caregivers effective strategies to cope with pediatric chronic pain and functional symptoms and related stress using relaxation, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral skills. She has published numerous articles and chapters on pediatric pain management and related topics and has presented at national and international conferences.

When Your Child Hurts

Dr. Coakley founded The Comfort Ability® in 2011 and directs the implementation at Boston Children’s Hospital. For her work with The Comfort Ability® Program she was granted the 2016 David Weiner Award for Innovation in Child Health. The Comfort Ability® Program is made possible by the Sara Page Mayo Endowment for Pediatric Pain Research & Education and the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine at Boston Childrens Hospital.

Dr. Coakley’s book, “When Your Child Hurts: Effective Strategies to Increase Comfort, Reduce Stress and Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain” (Yale University Press), won a 2016 National Parenting Products Award (NAPPA).

Simona Bujoreanu, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Dr. Simona Bujoreanu is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and joined The Comfort Ability® Program team from the Psychiatry Consultation Service at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she was been a senior staff psychologist from 2008-2019. She obtained her PhD from the University of Rhode Island and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at DFCI.  She has extensive experience working with youth with both medical and psychiatric conditions and their families and has been an integral part of multidisciplinary teams throughout the hospital.  Simona has also played a key role in teaching and supervising pre- and post-doctoral psychology trainees, psychiatry fellows, and medical students and has been recognized with several awards for her work in this domain.  Her research has focused on depressive symptoms in children and adolescents with IBD, somatoform presentations, eating disorders, and health care utilization.  She has been part of several BCH committees on training and innovation leading to the development of hospital wide clinical practice guidelines.

Amy Hale, Ph.D.

Research and Teaching Lead

Dr. Amy Hale joined the Comfort Ability® Program team from the Boston Children's Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition where she has been an attending psychologist since 2016. Within the GI department, she has served on the multidisciplinary Functional Abdominal Pain Team and the Growth and Nutrition Program teams. She is the Co-Director of the Psychogastroenterology Continuing Education Program and has led development of evidence-based treatment groups for adolescents with disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBIs) and also parents of children with encopresis. She obtained her PhD from University of Connecticut and completed her fellowship at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She has extensive experience working with children and adolescents with pain and functional gastrointestinal disorders, as well as training community-based clinicians on evidence-based treatments for GI conditions. Her research has focused on functional abdominal pain, dissemination and development of evidence-based treatments for pediatric patients with chronic pain and discomfort, and measure development.

Janae Biggs, BS
Program Manager

Janae has served as the Comfort Ability® Program Program Manager since 2019. Prior to joining the CAP team at Boston Children’s Hospital Janae earned her bachelor’s in Exercise Health Science at UMass Boston and then worked in Program Management for five years at various non-profits in the field of Health, Wellness, and Exercise. She served for four years as the Director of Health and Wellness at the YMCA where she managed and expanded programming pertaining to chronic disease, personal training and group exercise.

Timothy LaVigne, PhD
Training Lead

Dr. LaVigne is an attending psychologist in the Division of Pain Medicine within the Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is also an Instructor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He obtained his PhD at the University of Vermont and completed a postdoctoral fellowship on the Psychiatry Consultation Service at Boston Children’s Hospital. As a pediatric psychologist, he focuses on the intersection of physical, behavioral, and mental health. Since completing fellowship, Dr. LaVigne has specialized in working with children, adolescents, and young adults (as well as their families) who have chronic pain and discomfort. Prior to joining the Division of Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s, Dr. LaVigne served as the Comfort Ability® Program site director at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center where he was also the co-director of the Connecticut Children’s Pediatric Headache Center in the Division of Pain & Palliative Medicine. His research has focused on somatic symptom and related disorders and best-practices for medical provider education & training.

Carolina Donado, MD, MBI  

Consultant in Bioinformatics

Dr. Donado is a Biomedical Informatician in the Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine at Boston Children ́s Hospital. She received her medical degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia in 2011. In 2013, Dr. Donado moved to the U.S. and began working at Boston Children’s Hospital as a research fellow in pediatric pain management. In 2019, she received her Master’s in Biomedical Informatics from the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Donado’s research focuses on sensory physiology in children, meta-analyses of analgesic trials in pediatrics, and clinical outcomes of chronic and acute pediatric pain management, using a combination of electronic data capture and electronic health records. Her overarching goal is to improve clinical care by providing clinicians and patients with high quality data to improve and personalize pain management treatment.

Bobbie Riley, MD, FAAP 

Physician Consultant

Dr. Bobbie Riley is the Director of Pain Treatment Service at Boston Children’s Hospital and joined the Comfort Ability® Program team as a medical consultant from the Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine. She completed her undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Miami, pediatric residency at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital (currently Lurie Children’s Hospital), and then returned to Miami for a second residency in anesthesia at Jackson Memorial Hospital before completing a combined Interventional and Pediatric Pain Fellowship at Beth Israel, Brigham and Women’s, and Boston Children’s Hospitals. Her passion for pediatric pain began while working as a pediatrician in the emergency department at Children’s Memorial and continued while on staff as an anesthesiologist at the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. In her current role at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Riley uses a multidisciplinary approach and incorporates interventional techniques to manage chronic pediatric pain syndrome, with specific interests in cancer related pain and functional abdominal pain

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