Doctor wasn’t always the path Dr. Sarah Love thought she would take — lawyer and dolphin trainer also made the list. Though growing up she wasn’t sure which exciting career path she’d wind up taking, she was certain helping someone, or something, would be a big part of her role. That someone, turns out, is children.
Today, as Akron Children’s newest pediatric psychologist in the Lois and John Orr Family Behavioral Health Center, Dr. Love feels right at home helping kids feel better quickly. In her new role, she will split her time between the hospital’s Pain and Sleep Medicine centers, helping kids navigate the challenges of chronic pain and sleep disorders to restore optimal functioning.
Dr. Love credits her mom for influencing her decision to follow medicine after witnessing the major impact she had on so many as a physician assistant. She’s grateful because to Dr. Love, there are no words to describe how rewarding it is to help children reach their goals.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I originally chose Akron Children’s in 2020 for my pediatric psychology fellowship because of the fantastic opportunities for training. Afterwards, I decided to stay because of the hospital’s friendly culture, the enthusiasm providers have for helping children and families, and the chance to specialize and practice in areas I am truly passionate about.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish?
My role is a pediatric psychologist in Behavioral Health, providing psychology services within the Pain and Sleep Medicine centers. I hope to help many children, adolescents and families navigate and cope with the challenges of chronic pain, while also helping them improve and restore optimal functioning. In Sleep Medicine, I will provide children with behavioral sleep medicine skills and strategies to help alleviate sleep challenges.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
Throughout my graduate school practicum training, pediatric psychology residency and fellowship, I have specialized in working with children and adolescents with a variety of health concerns. I found that I truly enjoy working within interdisciplinary teams and partnering with medical providers to provide optimal care to children and families.
I developed special expertise in providing psychology services to kids with chronic pain and sleep challenges. There are no words to describe how rewarding it is to help a patient with chronic pain reach their goals for functioning and learn ways to cope with and manage pain. Because adequate sleep is necessary for so many important aspects of a child’s development, I also love helping kids get a better and more restful nights’ sleep.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
My mother is a physician’s assistant and seeing how she helped others and made a positive impact on so many patients had a huge influence on my career choice and desire to follow a profession that helped others.
When I was a college freshman, I took an introduction to psychology course and soon after changed my major to psychology. It became clear to me during college that I wanted to become a psychologist.
As I gained more experience working with children, especially through volunteering in college in Big Brothers, Big Sisters, I realized that I wanted to specialize in working with children and adolescents.
What impression do you hope to leave with your patients each day?
I truly hope my patients and families feel heard, supported, and that they have learned new skills and strategies to handle the issues they are working through. My favorite experience is when someone leaves their appointment looking visibly more relaxed or has a big smile on their face.
How does your personality fit your role?
I think my enthusiasm, positivity and sense of humor really help me relate to and form positive therapeutic relationships with patients of all ages.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
Being a psychologist can come with a heavy emotional toll at times. My goal is to always “practice what I preach” to my patients: prioritize self-care, take breaks during the day, and enjoy time with friends and family.
What are you most looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to serving patients and families and settling into my role as a new pediatric psychologist. I am also really excited to have the chance to expand and grow psychology services within the Pain Center, services that I began to work toward establishing as a fellow. It is truly amazing to see the psychology program in the Pain Center develop and grow.
I am also looking forward to continuing to work with the Sleep Medicine team, another team that I had the chance to work with during my fellowship. I look forward to continuing to be a part of that team and continue to help many patients and families cope with sleep challenges.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in South Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland. It’s exciting to be practicing close to home and be able to serve my northeast Ohio community.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My family includes my spouse, Steven, and our adorable cat, Ash. I am also lucky enough to be living close to my parents and 2 older brothers.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up, I either wanted to be a lawyer, doctor or a dolphin trainer (I still think dolphins are awesome.). By the time I was in high school, I knew with certainty that I wanted to follow a profession where I could help others.
What’s your favorite holiday?
My favorite season is fall so naturally my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love this holiday because of the delicious food (especially pumpkin and apple desserts!) and the special time with family and friends.
What was your first paying job?
My first paying job in high school was a cashier at Malley’s Chocolates (a local Cleveland favorite). I truly appreciated sampling free chocolates during all my shifts!