Eleshia J. Morrison, Ph.D., L.P.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science
What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?
I have always been fascinated by disease processes and health outcomes; I've planned for a career in medicine for as long as I can remember. However, it was an undergraduate course called "Hormones and Behavior" that ignited my passion for the interplay of medical, psychological and social variables on individual and group illness and wellness outcomes. From there, I knew that a profession in clinical health psychology was an ideal fit for my interests in delivering patient care and engaging in research.
What motivated you to become a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar?
Through my training based on the scientist-practitioner model, I've been fortunate to have received wonderful research training and mentorship. I'm especially drawn to health equity research, implementation science and digital science; however, these areas of research were not components of my foundational training.
The Kern Health Care Delivery Scholars Program offers an incredible opportunity to be a practicing clinician while also being immersed in learning new research skills. I'm thrilled to be a part of this program.
What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?
Complex and persistent pain, also called chronic pain, is a biopsychosocial condition that bears a significant impact on physical and emotional functioning and quality of life on an individual level, and on health care utilization and lost productivity more broadly.
Evidence-based behavioral treatments targeting functional restoration have been established, but many patients with chronic pain lack access to these types of treatments. This is representative of existing health inequities in pain medicine and pain rehabilitation.
My focus is on disseminating a digital, evidence-based behavioral intervention to under-resourced patients with chronic pain who have not had access to this standard of care.
Tell us about your mentoring team.
I'm fortunate to have established a superb team of mentors to support my program, representing expertise in behavioral intervention design and implementation, health equity, community engagement, biostatistics, digital science, and implementation science.
My primary mentor, Christi A. Patten, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized researcher with expertise in the development and evaluation of new behavioral interventions leveraging technology with diverse populations.
My mentorship team also includes:
- Joy Balls-Berry, Ph.D., of Washington University in St. Louis
- Matthew M. Clark, Ph.D., L.P.
- Shawna L. Ehlers, Ph.D., L.P.
- Felicity T. Enders, Ph.D.
- Aaron L. Leppin, M.D.
- Lise Solberg Nes, Ph.D., of Oslo University Hospital, Norway
How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?
Facilitating access to evidence-based interventions for individuals with chronic pain enhances physical and emotional functioning and reduces the suffering associated with pain-related debility. Ultimately, my team's aim is to maximize patients' access to high-quality care and decrease the health inequities that currently exist in pain medicine and pain rehabilitation.
Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?
As a scientist-practitioner, I was drawn to Mayo Clinic's three-shield approach of integrating high-caliber patient care with research and education. I also really enjoy working among interdisciplinary teams and thrive on the energy and creativity that such teams generate.
Each day, my roles in patient care, research and education allow me to work alongside compassionate and talented colleagues and trainees. If my work can contribute in some small way to easing the suffering of patients, families and communities, that is a definite win.