In his career as a social psychologist, Dr. Hill has focused on identifying strategies to help parents, children, and healthcare providers cope with stressful situations and health threats.
For the past five years, he has worked with Dr. Chris Feudtner at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on research topics that apply social psychology to different aspects of pediatric palliative care and chronic pediatric illness including: hopeful thinking among parents of children with life-threatening illness, how parents develop new goals when a child’s health is declining; good parent beliefs of parents of seriously ill children; the well-being of siblings of children with life-threatening illness; and identifying pediatric patients who are unable to communicate.
In addition, Dr. Hill designed and implemented a behavioral weight loss intervention for overweight adolescents and their parents and he also helped implement a childhood obesity prevention intervention implemented in a pediatric primary care setting.
The underlying theme his research is that serious illness is frightening and, for many people, overwhelming. Providing quality medical care and information to patients and their families is necessary but not sufficient to improve their outcomes. Many patients, parents, and other family members need additional support to help them manage the stress, powerful emotions, and demands associated with negotiating with a serious illness and the healthcare system.