Student Research Spotlight April 8, 2020
Nicole Fleischer (PsyD ’21)
Nicole Fleischer's (PsyD '21) psychology research projects focus on understanding
stress and anxiety in children.
Nicole Fleischer’s (PsyD ’21) has had a comprehensive research journey throughout
both her undergraduate and graduate education. In her undergraduate education, Ms.
Fleisher began conducting research in the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and
interpersonal violence research lab. In her graduate education she focused her research
on mindfulness in children with anxiety. Now in her doctoral research, Ms. Fleischer
has focused her research on psychosocial stressors in children.
What are you studying?
My PCOM dissertation is on the clinical presentation and response to treatment of
children and adolescents with both asthma and anxiety disorders. My goal was to examine
how children who had both asthma and anxiety may differ from other anxious children
in regards to their specific types of anxiety (e.g., panic, social anxiety, etc.),
how their symptoms present, what thoughts may come up regarding asthma and anxiety,
and whether their parents have anxiety, too. I also looked at whether children with
asthma and anxiety respond to traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety
What prompted you to pursue research?
I’ve always had questions about human behavior and psychopathology. Sometimes science
has these answers, and sometimes the answers just created more questions. I felt like
engaging in research could help me understand more and contribute to the knowledge
of psychology and behavioral health.
What experience do you have conducting research?
I have been engaged in research since 2008, where I started at the post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) and interpersonal violence lab at Pennsylvania State University.
My role included data entry and routine study procedures. I continued to conduct research
as I completed my masters, writing a detailed literature review on mindfulness-based
interventions and childhood anxiety. At PCOM, I was engaged in research through Temple
University’s Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic, where I accessed the data
for my dissertation.
Additionally, I worked with Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD, director of research, clinical psychology, on conducting research on anxiety disorder
groups at a local charter school. Through this project, I have been able to implement
new protocols and present those findings at local and national conferences.
In my internship, I am completing a research study on adverse childhood experiences
and healthcare usage among children with asthma and childhood obesity. As I move on
to post-doc, I plan to continue research on adverse childhood experiences and their
relationship with medical adherence in youth with Type-1 Diabetes.
What are your responsibilities on the research project?
I was involved in developing the research questions and building the argument for
examining my research questions. My advisors were very helpful in developing specific
research questions to address what I was trying to examine. I also organized and analyzed
the data, with the help of Michael Roberts, PsyD, director, institutional research.
What is the broader impact of your research?
My dissertation can help inform treatment for children and adolescents who may also
have a medical condition in addition to their anxiety disorder. My study was also
one of the first to examine psychotropic medications for treatment in youth with asthma
and anxiety together, which can help inform psychiatric treatment of anxiety and asthma.
Ms. Fleischer received her bachelor of science in psychology from Pennsylvania State
University and her master of science in psychology from Chestnut Hill College.
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
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