Abigail Hardin, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Rush Medical College
Role: Clinician
Joined Rush in 2019


As a Rehabilitation Psychologist, I evaluate and treat patients while they are in the hospital who have sustained catastrophic injuries or illnesses like stroke, spinal cord injury, limb loss and brain injury. I completed my Ph.D. in Health Psychology at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, my residency in Behavioral Medicine/Neuropsychology at the University of Washington, and my postdoctoral fellowship specializing in Rehabilitation Psychology at TIRR Memorial Hermann/Baylor College of Medicine. I am a proud advocate of those with disabilities and chronic diseases and enjoy helping patients and their families navigate the process of returning to full and fulfilling lives after the disruption of a major medical event.

What inspired you to get into your field?

Experiences in my own life of those with medical conditions encouraged me to get involved in health research as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California. In graduate school, I worked with patients with chronic illness (Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc.). I recall working with one woman who as a result of complications from her diabetes, underwent a limb amputation. I recall wishing I could have worked with her at the outset of her difficulties - i.e. when she was in the hospital - to help treat her phantom pain and struggles with body image. That’s when I discovered Rehabilitation Psychology as a field. Since then, it’s been my professional home.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

My position at Rush is my first job outside of my postdoctoral fellowship. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to work full-time with hospitalized patients. I have particularly enjoyed setting up new patient service lines with other psychologists on our team. We are reaching more patients across the hospital, and that excites me tremendously.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship? Please comment about your experiences.

“Mentorship” and “Sponsorship” were topics that I really had not thought carefully about until I arrived at Rush. However, I have recently read literature on how men in many fields enjoy informal mentorship and sponsorship relationships, which help them establish clear career trajectories and make the most of opportunities. I want for all women, inside and outside of Rush to have the same experiences. It is important that women model for each other how to have healthy, supportive workplace relationships, so that we too can make the most of our opportunities.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

I would recommend all emerging psychologists join one or more of the divisions of the American Psychological Association. There are divisions for every specialty. Early in your career you may find it helpful to attend conferences in multiple divisions until you have found your “professional home.”

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

I am new to Chicago. Currently, I enjoy exploring the various neighborhoods and restaurants around me.