The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard

Clinically, I provide consultation and treatment to children and adolescents with chronic illnesses (e.g., cancer; cystic fibrosis) and their families, with a focus on improving coping and adaptation, decreasing distress and family conflict related to the illness, and increasing treatment adherence. I utilize both family therapy and cognitive-behavioral techniques in my work with children and families.

My overall goal is to conduct developmentally focused research that will inform questions related to child and family decision making about health-related issues.

One area of research has focused on independent self-management of chronic illness, with a particular focus on the development of decision making autonomy and competence. This line of research has underscored that the parent-child relationship is an important context in which decision making independence and competence develop. My current study is an R01-funded longitudinal study to determine the developmental mechanisms, predictors, and outcomes (e.g., treatment adherence and responsibility) of children?s decision making involvement, in children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis or type 1 diabetes.

The second area of research has focused on informed consent and assent in pediatric medical settings. I recently received funding from NIH to examine the potential benefits of children?s involvement in decisions about medical research decisions. I am also a co-investigator on two other studies in this area. One is a prospective cohort study that is following children with life-threatening chronic conditions and their parents, examining the process of decision making and the impact of hopeful patterns of thought, positive and negative affect, and the child?s illness trajectory (PI: Chris Feudtner). The second is a sub-project of a U01 grant (PI: Krantz) to examine informed consent and assent and return of results in the context of genomic sequencing in pediatric settings (PI of sub-project: Bernhardt).

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (2007– present)
PhD, Clinical Psychology, Case Western Reserve University (2005)
MA, Clinical Psychology, Case Western Reserve University (2002)
BA, Psychology and Biomedical Ethics, Brown University (1997)
Selected Publications
Miller VA, Nelson RM. Factors related to voluntary parental decision making in pediatric oncology.. Pediatrics. Vol 129(5) . 2012:903-909.
Miller VA, Harris D. Measuring children?s decision making involvement regarding chronic illness management.. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Vol 37(3) . 2012:292-306.
Hexem K, Miller VA, Carroll K, Feudtner C. Putting on a happy face: Emotional expression in parents of children with serious illness.. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Vol 45(3) . 2013:542-551.
Miller VA, Luce MF, Nelson RM. Relationship of external influence to parental distress in decision making regarding children with a life-threatening illness.. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Vol 36(10) . 2011:1102-1112.
Cousino M, Hazen R, Yamokoski A, Miller V, Zyzanski S, Drotar D, Kodish E. Parent participation and physician-parent communication during informed consent in pediatric leukemia.. Pediatrics. Vol 128(6) . 2011:e1544-e1551.
Miller VA, Ittenbach RI, Harris D, Reynolds WW, Beauchamp TL, Luce MF, Nelson RM. The Decision Making Control Instrument to assess voluntary consent.. Medical Decision Making. Vol 31(5) . 2011:730-741.
Nelson RM, Beauchamp TL, Miller VA, Reynolds WW, Ittenbach RI, Luce MF. The concept of voluntary consent.. American Journal of Bioethics. Vol 11(8) . 2011:6-16.
Miller VA, Reynolds WW, Ittenbach RF, Luce MF, Beauchamp TL, Nelson RM. Challenges in measuring a new construct: Perception of voluntariness for research and treatment decision making.. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics. Vol 4(3) . 2009:21-31.
Miller VA. Parent-child collaborative decision making for the management of chronic illness: A qualitative analysis.. Families, Systems & Health. Vol 27(3) . 2009:249-266.
Miller VA, Reynolds WW, Nelson RM. Parent-child roles in decision-making about medical research.. Ethics & Behavior. Vol 18(2-3) . 2008:161-181.
Miller VA, Drotar D, Kodish E. Children's competence for assent and consent: A review of empirical findings.. Ethics & Behavior. Vol 14(3) . 2004:255-295.
Miller VA, Nelson RM. Moving beyond the consent document in research on informed consent.. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Vol 159(4) . 2005:396-397.
Miller VA, Nelson RM. A developmental approach to child assent for non-therapeutic research.. Journal of Pediatrics. Vol 149(1, Supp) . 2006:S25-S30.