Rachael Coakley, PhD

Dr. Rachael Coakley is a pediatric pain psychologist in the Department of Anesthesiology, Boston Children’s Hospital, where she serves as the Director of Clinical Innovation and Outreach in the Pain Treatment Service and the Associate Director of Psychological Services. Additionally, she is founder and director of “The Comfort Ability,” an internationally disseminated program that teaches evidence-based pain management skills to adolescents with chronic pain and their parents. Dr. Coakley is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School and holds national and international leadership positions including the 2017-2019 elected chair of Clinical Committee for the Society of Pediatric Psychology Pain SIG.

Dr. Coakley completed her undergraduate work at The University of Pennsylvania and her doctoral studies at Loyola University in Chicago. She completed fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and joined the Consultation Liaison Service for one year prior to beginning her current position in the Pain Treatment Service in 2006.

The major achievements in Dr. Coakley’s career focus on the translational research of evidence-based psychological intervention for pediatric pain management. Her program, “The Comfort Ability,” is currently licensed by eleven children’s hospitals in the US and Canada. For her work on this program she was honored with the prestigious 2016 David Weiner Award for Innovation in Child Health. Dr. Coakley also developed an award winning video-based intervention to for sickle cell pain. Outside the field of psychology, Dr. Coakley is an accomplished author. Her 2016 book, When Your Child Hurts (Yale University Press), won a national book award for best parenting book (NAPPA).