Heather Bemis, PhD

Licensed Psychologist

Heather Bemis, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in the Division of Comfort and Palliative Care at CHLA. She conducts interdisciplinary research and provides inpatient and outpatient clinical psychological services for children and families referred to palliative care.

Dr. Bemis is trained in evidence-based treatment approaches for children and families across a variety of populations and settings, with a specialization among children facing complex medical and psychological issues. Her research interests primarily focus on coping, family interaction, and adjustment among families of children with serious medical illnesses, as well as addressing the effects of social and healthcare disparities on these processes.

Dr. Bemis received her B.A. in Psychology from Williams College and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship with the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.


Graduate School

Vanderbilt University, Doctor of Philosophy, Clinical Psychology


UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Pediatric Consultation-Liaison Track


UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Nathanson Family Resilience Center



Licensed Psychologist

Professional Memberships

Society of Pediatric Psychology (APA Division 54)
Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology (APA Division 53)


Yarboi, J., Prussien, K.V., Bemis, H., Williams, E., Watson, K.H., McNally, C., Henry, L., King, A.A., DeBaun, M.R., & Compas, B.E. (2019, in press). Responsive parenting behaviors and cognitive function in children with sickle cell disease. Journal of Pediatric Psychology

Prussien, K., Yarboi, J., Kirkham, F., Umar, S., Bemis, H., DeBaun, M., & Compas, B.E. (2019). Associations of Transcranial Doppler Velocity, Age, and Gender with Cognitive Function in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia in Nigeria. Child Neuropsychology, 705-720. 

Prussien, K., Yarboi, J., Bemis, H., Williams, E., DeBaun, M., & Compas, B.E. (2018). Cognitive function, coping, and depressive symptoms in children and adolescents with sickle cell disease, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 43, 543-551. 

Rodriguez, E.M., Murphy, L., Vannatta, K., Gerhardt, C.A., Young-Saleme, T., Saylor, M., Bemis, H., Desjardins, L., Dunn, M.J., & Compas, B.E. (2016). Maternal coping and depression as predictors of mother-child communication about a child’s cancer. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 41, 329-339

Murphy, L.K., Rodriguez, E.M., Gerhardt, C.A., Vannatta, K., Schwartz, L., Saylor, M., Bemis, H., Desjardins, L., & Compas, B.E. (2016). Longitudinal associations among maternal communication and adolescent posttraumatic stress symptoms after cancer diagnosis. Psycho-Oncology, 25, 779-786. 

Bemis, H., Yarboi, J., Gerhardt, C.A., Vannatta, K., Desjardins, L., Murphy, L.K., Rodriguez, E.M., & Compas, B.E. (2015). Childhood cancer in context: Sociodemographic factors, stress, and psychological distress among mothers and children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 40, 733-743. 

Compas, B.E., Bemis, H., Gerhardt, C.A., Dunn, M.J., Rodriguez, E.M., Desjardins, L., Preacher, K., Manring, S., & Vannatta, K. (2015). Mothers and fathers coping with their child’s cancer: Individual and interpersonal processes and symptoms of depression. Health Psychology, 34, 783-793. 

Compas, B.E., Desjardins, L., Vannatta, K., Young-Saleme, T., Rodriguez, E.M., Dunn, M., Bemis, H., Snyder, S., & Gerhardt, C.A. (2014). Children and adolescents coping with cancer: Self- and parent-reports of coping and anxiety/depression. Health Psychology, 33, 853-861. 

Greer, J.A., Traeger, L., Bemis, H., Solis, J., Hendriksen, E.S., Park, E.R., Pirl, W.F., Temel, J.S., Prigerson, H.G., & Safren, S.A. (2012). A pilot randomized controlled trial of brief cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety in patients with terminal cancer. The Oncologist, 17, 1337-1345. 

Pirl, W.F., Traeger, L., Greer, J.A., Bemis, H., Gallagher, E., Lennes, I., Sequist, L.V., Heist, R.S., & Temel, J.S. (2011). Tumor epidermal growth factor receptor genotype and depression in stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. The Oncologist, 16, 1299-1306.