Contact Melissa Santos, PhD

Melissa Santos, PhD

Division Head, Pediatric Psychology
Clinical Director, Obesity Center

Practice Name Connecticut Children's Specialty Group


PhD, Texas Tech University

The Medical College of Georgia/Augusta VA Psychology Residency Consortium

The Medical College of Georgia, Hartford Hospital/The Institute of Living

Faculty Appointment

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Santos is a psychologist specializing in the family treatment of pediatric obesity. She works with adolescents and their families preparing for bariatric surgery and families participating in non-surgical weight management programming. Dr. Santos supervises psychology and medical students in clinical and research activities within the obesity program. In addition to her work at Connecticut Children’s, Dr. Santos serves as the President of the Society of Pediatric Psychology.

Selected Publications

  • Santos, M., Cadieux, A., Gray, J. & Ward, W. (2016). Pediatric Obesity in Early Childhood: A Physician Screening Tool. Clinical Pediatrics, 55, 356-362.

  • Cadieux, A., Getzoff, E., Baughcum, A., Shaffer, L., Santos, M., Gaffka, B., Gray, J., Burton, E. & Ward, W. (2016). Recommendations for Psychologists in Stage III Pediatric Obesity Programs. Children’s Health Care, 45, 126-145.

  • Gray, J.S., Cadieux, A., Sweeney, B., Beck, A., Edgar, S., Eneli, I., Getzoff Testa, E., Paguio, K., Santos, M., & Ward, W. (in press). Medical neglect and pediatric obesity: Insights from tertiary care obesity treatment programs. Children’s Health Care.

  • Astur, R.S., Carew, A.W., Palmisano, A., Deaton, B.E., Kuhney, F., Niezrecki, R., & Santos, M. (2016). Cravings in a Virtual Reality Room Paired with Chocolate Predict Eating Disorder Risk. International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, 9, 9-19.

  • Santos, M., Murtaugh, T., Pantaleao, A. Zempsky, W. & Guite, J. (In Press) Chronic Pain and Obesity within a Pediatric Interdisciplinary Pain Clinic Setting: A Preliminary Examination of Current Relationships and Future Directions. Clinical Journal of Pain.

  • Patinkin, Z., Feinn, R. & Santos, M. (In Press)Metabolic Consequences of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adolescents with Obesity: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis. Childhood Obesity

  • Mulchan, S. S., Signore, A., Reiss, M., Olezeski, C. L., & Santos, M. (2021). Motivational interviewing to navigate ethical considerations for youth facing stigma in health care settings. Journal of Health Service Psychology47(3), 129-136.

  • Mulchan, S.S., Wakefield, E., Santos, M. (2020). What COVID-19 teaches us about implicit bias in pediatric health care. Journal of pediatric psychology, jsaa131. Advance online publication.

  • Mackey ER, Burton ET, Cadieux A, Getzoff E, Santos M, Ward W, Beck AR. Addressing Structural Racism Is Critical for Ameliorating the Childhood Obesity Epidemic in Black Youth. Child Obes. 2021 Sep 2. doi: 10.1089/chi.2021.0153. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34491828.

  • Skinner AC, Xu H, Christison A, Neshteruk C, Cuda S, Santos M, Yee JK, Thomas L, King E, Kirk S; POWER Work Group. Patient Retention in Pediatric Weight Management Programs in the United States: Analyses of Data from the Pediatrics Obesity Weight Evaluation Registry. Child Obes. 2021 Aug 20. doi: 10.1089/chi.2021.0092. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34415779.

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