By Sahar. S. Eshtehardi, M.S.

It is with great enthusiasm and honor that I accept the role as the new Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP) Student Representative working alongside leaders in the profession. I consider myself fortunate to represent the ever inspiring and diverse trainees of Division 54 and I look forward to cultivating initiatives to further strengthen student collaboration and community throughout my two-year term.

Currently, I am a third-year graduate student in the Health Psychology track of the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Houston. Under the mentorship of Dr. Marisa Hilliard at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, my research interests center around biopsychosocial factors that relate to health outcomes, treatment adherence, and health-related quality of life in adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes and their families. Further, I have sought specialized training that aligns with my passion for the field of pediatric psychology through practicum placements at Texas Children’s Hospital, The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, and Shriners Hospitals for Children - Galveston. Moreover, I have had the pleasure of serving in a number of roles within SPP, previously as a National Campus Representative and SPPAC Student Ambassador, and currently as a Trainee Member-at-Large for the Diabetes Special Interest Group and as a member of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology Student Journal Club.

I am grateful to Carolina Bejarano, the Student Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors, for their phenomenal job expanding the educational programming and mentorship of students, and I have benefitted greatly from the student activities, resources, and programming in SPP over the years. Echoing Carolina’s strides, I am committed to fostering the inclusivity of Division 54 trainees from underrepresented programs by increasing access to pediatric psychology resources and networks. Moreover, I am eager to work together with the talented and hard-working leaders within the Student Advisory Board to tailor efforts to best support trainee education, research, and clinical practice, particularly during the challenging COVID-19 era. Since beginning my transition into Student Representative activities last August, I have witnessed first-hand the Board of Directors responsiveness and dedication to adapting and maximizing trainee development during these unprecedented times. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to further contribute to these efforts through my new role on the Board.

For the past 5 years, SPP has been my professional home and I look forward to giving back to the organization that has helped shape my career goals and given me so many opportunities for growth and connection. It is an honor to represent the students in this field, and I highly encourage you to contact me at spp.studentrep@gmail.com with questions, comments, or ideas to best support this group. I hope to “see” you at vSPPAC 2021!

With thanks and appreciation,
Sahar S. Eshtehardi, M.S. SPP Student Representative 2021-2022