Michelle Clementi, PhD received her PhD at the University of Houston in Texas. During Dr. Clementi’s clinical training in pediatric chronic pain clinics, she was struck by the fact that the vast majority of patients with chronic pain and migraine are female, and that migraine is one of the most common causes of disability for adult women. The typical struggles of being a teenage girl are already difficult to manage and when girls also have the additional experience of chronic pain, it takes an emotional and physical toll on them. Young females' pain is often ignored or dismissed by providers, teachers and peers, which inspired Dr. Clementi to be an advocate for young women and study ways to better support them in the hopes of mitigating this common struggle.
As a pediatric health psychologist, Dr. Clementi currently sees patients at the Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Headache Program and founded the Headache Coping Clinic, a clinic that provides psychological support for children and teens with persistent headaches and migraine.
In 2020, Dr. Clementi began her Ludeman Center-funded research project titled, “Intraindividual Sleep Variability and Circadian Factors in Adolescent Girls with Chronic Migraine: Associations with Psychological Functioning.” Her research assessed interactions among multiple objective and subjective measures of sleep/circadian health, mental health and pain in adolescent females with chronic migraines. Her goal was to better understand potential targets for behavioral interventions at the intersection of mental and physical health.
Dr. Clementi recognizes that pain conditions, such as migraine, have historically been dismissed and stigmatized in part due to higher rates of co-occurring mental health concerns and because of high prevalence among females. She feels it is important that her work avoids attributing pain solely to mental health problems and instead recognizes and further studies the complex, bidirectional nature of the overlap between physical and mental health. She strongly values the Ludeman Center’s commitment to supporting research that examines the intersection of physical and mental health.
Dr. Clementi’s current research priority is to develop, adapt and test behavioral interventions to treat persistent headaches and migraine, which disproportionately affect females. Given that migraine is the 4th most disabling condition in adult women, her work aims to intervene early on to help support pain management and coping in adolescent females to improve their quality of life and reduce disability into adulthood.