Dr. Pao is clinical and deputy scientific director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health. She is chief of the Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service (Adult and Child) in the Clinical Center.
A native of Bethesda, MD, Dr. Pao attended Wellesley College before completing a Bachelor of Arts/Medical Degree Program at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed pediatric and psychiatric residency training as well as a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Pao was the director of the Pediatric Consultation Liaison Service in the Children's Center of Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as the director of pediatric consultation liaison and emergency psychiatric services at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She is board-certified in general psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and psychosomatic medicine. Dr. Pao is a past recipient of the NIMH Outstanding Resident Award (1991) and has received teaching awards both during her time at Johns Hopkins and at Children's National Medical Center. She also received the NIMH Hannah Cashman Memorial Award for Excellence in Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Service (2003).
Dr. Pao's clinical and research interests are in the complex interactions between somatic and psychiatric symptoms in chronic diseases of childhood such as HIV, other primary immune disorders, and pediatric oncology. Dr. Pao is Co-Chair of the Physically Ill Child Committee in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and councilor of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. She was elected to the American College of Psychiatrists in 2010. She has written more than 120 papers and chapters and served as a senior editor for the Quick Reference for Pediatric Oncology Clinicians: The Psychiatric and Psychological Dimensions of Pediatric Cancer Symptom Management, Oxford University Press (2015). She helped develop the ASQ™ (Ask Suicide-Screening Questions), a suicide screening tool for pediatric emergency departments, and Voicing My CHOICES™, an advance care planning guide for adolescents and young adults. Dr. Pao is recognized for her leadership and training in pediatric psychosomatic medicine.