Faculty Candidate Seminar: Janelle Letzen, Ph.D. Putative Roles of Reward System Function in Pain Self-Management: From Brain Mechanisms to Behavior Change

Monday, July 22, 2019 ~ 1:00- 2:00 PM  Communicore, Room C1-4

Janelle Letzen, Ph.D. 

Postdoctoral Fellow – Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences – Johns Hopkins University

Symptom self-management interventions can empower patients with chronic pain to implement positive health behavior changes that improve quality of life. These strategies are often most effective with consistent, long-term engagement, and consequently, require ample motivation. However, previous research demonstrates aberrant function of brain systems associated with motivation and reward learning among chronic pain patients. The objectives of this presentation are; first, summarize the role of reward/motivation brain systems in pain chronification and persistence; second, review extant evidence linking these systems to treatment outcomes; and last, discuss potential implications for chronic pain self-management interventions.

Janelle Letzen is a neuropsychologist and a Postdoctoral Research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Florida in 2017. Dr. Letzen studies the connection between neural mechanism and chronic pain. She is well known for combining science with her hobby: sushi art, to explain neuroscience with what she calls “scienstagrams” as a way to make science approachable and understandable.