Gina Pfeifle, PhD
Gina Pfeifle is a pediatric neuropsychologist, a psychologist who specializes in the connections between the brain and behavior. She provides consultations and assessments for children and adolescents with medical conditions that affect brain development. She has particular expertise in caring for patients with spina bifida (a birth defect in which the spinal cord doesn't develop properly); acquired non-traumatic brain injuries (those caused by medical events such as infection or lack of oxygen); traumatic brain injuries (those caused by physical impact); genetic disorders, including neurofibromatosis type 1 (a condition in which tumors develop along nerves of the skin and brain); pediatric cancers; and neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In performing an assessment, Pfeifle identifies neurocognitive strengths and weaknesses related to a child's medical condition, with the goal of helping families, medical providers and educators understand the impact of this medical condition (or its treatment) on the child's daily functioning and ongoing development. She helps develop a supportive plan for each child, tailoring recommendations for accommodations, services and interventions across home, school and community settings. She also provides consultations for children and adolescents in UCSF's Spina Bifida Program, both to ensure they are receiving appropriate services and to address concerns related to emotional, behavioral and social adjustment as well as medical management.
One focus of Pfeifle's research is neurodevelopmental outcomes for children with spina bifida. She also is a member of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, an international research group working to develop new and better treatments for pediatric brain tumors. She participates in the group's investigation of health-related quality of life and neurocognitive outcomes for children with brain tumors.
Pfeifle earned a doctorate in educational and school psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed a predoctoral internship in pediatric psychology/neuropsychology at Texas Children's Hospital. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. She serves as training director for the UCSF Division of Developmental Medicine's pediatric neuropsychology externship.