Office: 2156 Pleasant Hall
PhD, Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 2016
MA, Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 2014
BS, Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 2009
Brittany Wittenberg is an Assistant Professor of Child and Family Studies in the School of Social Work and a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). Dr. Wittenberg completed her PhD, MA, and BS in Human Development and Family Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. From 2009–2016, Dr. Wittenberg practiced as a CCLS in the Surgical Services Department at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin, Texas. In 2016, Dr. Wittenberg began her academic career at Missouri State University, where she developed the graduate program in child life studies. Dr. Wittenberg brings her child life expertise to help build a child life specialist concentration in the Child and Family Studies Department at Louisiana State University.
Dr. Wittenberg’s research program focuses on the stressful experiences and transitions that children and their families encounter throughout the life course. Dr. Wittenberg uses family-systems theory as a framework for designing research protocols and interventions, with a particular interest in pediatric healthcare settings. Her objective is to help children and families by understanding the ways in which the stress associated with hospitalization and illness can be minimized. Specifically, Dr. Wittenberg helped to develop and test a family-centered, psychosocial intervention program for children with autism spectrum disorder who underwent procedures with general anesthesia. Additional research interests for Dr. Wittenberg include academic preparation for child life students, healthcare professionals' perception of the CCLS role, psychosocial interventions provided by CCLSs in Japan, and facility canine-assisted therapy in pediatric hospital settings.
From 2014–2015, Dr. Wittenberg was selected for and successfully completed the inaugural Leadership Academy, developed by the Association of Child Life Professionals (formerly Child Life Council). Currently, Dr. Wittenberg serves as Co-Chair for the Scientific Advancement of Professional Practice Committee for the Association of Child Life Professionals. In addition, Dr. Wittenberg served as a CCLS on two surgical mission trips in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Wittenberg, B. M., Beverung, L., Ansari, A., Jacobvitz, D., & Hazen-Swann, N. (2017). Gender differences and parents’ prenatal wishes for their children’s future: A mixed-methods study. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(7), 1865–1874. doi: 10.1007/s10826-017-0713-9
Wittenberg, B. M. (2017). Evidence-based practice one step at a time: Step 5 – develop the evidence-based practice statement, incorporating clinical expertise and patient/family preferences. Association of Child Life Professionals Bulletin, 35(4), 38–41.
Wittenberg, B. M. (2017). Evidence-based practice one step at a time: Step 3 – search for evidence. Association of Child Life Professionals Bulletin, 35(2), 30–33.
Wittenberg, B. M. (2017, May) A Psychosocial Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Outpatient Surgery Unit. Presentation for the 35th Annual Association of Child Life Professionals Conference on Professional Issues, Las Vegas, NV.
Wittenberg, B. M., Ansari, A., & Hazen, N. (2016, March). Gender Differences in Parents’ Wishes for their Children’s Future. Presentation for the 2016 Society for Research in Human Development Biennial Meeting, Denver, CO.
Wittenberg, B. M. & Hovinga, C. A. (2015, May). How to Incorporate a Research Study into Child Life Practice. Presentation for the 33rd Annual Child Life Council Conference on Professional Issues, Cincinnati, OH.
Wittenberg, B. M., Karras, C. A., & Hazen, N. (2015, March). How Parent- or Child-Centered Wishes Affect Later Caregiving Sensitivity and Toddler Autonomy. Poster presentation for the 2015 Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.
Johnson, J. A., Wittenberg, B. M., Wirth, K. W., & Hovinga, C. A. (2014, August). Inclusion of Family Advisors as Primary Investigators in Research Studies. Poster presentation for the 6th International Conference on Patient- and Family-Centered Care: Partnerships for Quality and Safety, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Strano Burton, R., Wittenberg, B. M., Jacobvitz, D., Hazen, N., & McCoy, D. (2014, April). The Infertility Experience: An Interactive Qualitative Analysis of the Pursuit of Parenthood. Presentation for the 55th Annual National Student Research Forum, Galveston, TX.
Wittenberg, B. M., Karras, C. A., Beverung, L., Hazen, N., & Jacobvitz, D. (2014, March). Parents’ Prenatal Wishes for their Children: Relations with Parenting Quality and Child Outcomes. Presentation for the 2014 Society for Research in Human Development Biennial Meeting, Austin, TX.
Wittenberg, B. M., Karras, C. A., Beverung, L., Mathews, M., & Hazen, N. (2013, November). Prenatal Wishes: The Impact of Parents’ Wishes on Parenting Quality. Poster presentation for the 2013 National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.
Co-Chair (2018-present), Chair-Elect (2017-2018), Member (2016-2017), Scientific Advancement of Professional Practice Committee, Association of Child Life Professionals
Member (2017-present), Awards Committee, Association of Child Life Professionals
Member (2015-2016), Research and Scholarship Committee, Association of Child Life Professionals