Arden O'Donnell, MPH, MSW, LICSW

Arden O'Donnell, MPH, MSW, LICSW

Former Palliative Care Social Worker, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Educational and professional experience
1993-1997 BA, Neuroscience, Mount Holyoke College
2000-2002 MPH, Boston University School of Public Health
2006-2008 MSW, Smith College School for Social Work
2008-2009 Pediatric Advanced Care Team Social Work Fellow, Boston Children’s Hospital
2009-2014 Palliative Care Social Worker, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)/Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Boston
2014-2016 Research Assistant/Palliative Care Social Worker, BWH


Current teaching and research interests

Arden O'Donnell, MPH, MSW, LICSW is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Boston University. She recently concluded a small clinical trial with Akshay Desai, MD, MPH, entitled "A Focused Palliative Care Intervention for Recently Hospitalized High-Risk Patients with Heart Failure." The primary objective is to assess the impact of a standardized, social worker-led, longitudinal palliative care intervention on alignment of patient and physician understanding of prognosis and goals of care with a secondary objective on assessing the impact on documentation of advanced care planning and end of life preferences, quality of life, and healthcare utilization.

Ms. O'Donnell began her work in palliative care working primarily with HIV/AIDS patients in the US and in Africa. She received her MPH and worked for five years in Zimbabwe and Lesotho, providing support to home-based care teams who were providing palliative care.

She began her social work career in 2008 as a Pediatric Palliative Care Fellow at Boston Children's Hospital and went on to become a member of the Brigham and Women's Palliative Care Service, playing a key role in the development of the cardiology-based Pre-VAD assessment and transplant evaluations.

Ms. O'Donnell has a dedication to teaching and is an Adjunct Professor at Smith College School for Social Work. She has taught communication workshops and palliative care skills to residents, medical students, and most recently has taught Cardiology Fellows.

Ms. O'Donnell is also dedicated to helping children who have experienced the loss of a parent, through running Coalition for Courage, a Zimbabwean-based orphan care program, and through being a dedicated foster and adoptive parent.