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Debra M O'Donnell, MD


brain tumors, dysautonomia, headaches


Debra O’Donnell, MD is a pediatric neurologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Dr. O’Donnell was born and raised in Indiana. She completed her medical school education at Indiana University. Following graduation, Dr. O’Donnell joined the internship program at Riley Hospital for Children – IU Health in Indiana. She then went on to Baylor College of Medicine where she completed her residency in child neurology and fellowship in epilepsy. Dr. O’Donnell is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with special qualifications in child neurology. 

She has a special interest in caring for pediatric patients with epilepsy/seizures and chronic headaches. 

Dr. O’Donnell’s favorite thing about working with kids is their capacity for healing and a generally good sense of humor.  

Outside of work Dr. O’Donnell enjoys visiting and traveling with her husband, her own grown kids, and their extended families, playing with her dogs and celebrating college basketball every chance! 

schedule an appointment

If your child is an existing patient, log in to MyKidsChart to schedule directly with your provider for follow-up care.

If you are new to the Dayton Children’s neurology clinic, use the online scheduling tool below to schedule an appointment. New patient appointments must be done in person. To schedule by phone call 937-641-4000

conditions you can schedule for:

  • Headaches and migraine
  • General neurology - developmental delays, numbness/tingling, weakness, ataxia (unsteady gait), hyper/hypotonia
  • Movement disorders - tics, Tourette's syndrome, tremors, chorea, clonus, dystonia

If your child needs to be seen for epilepsy/seizures or another condition not listed as an option for online scheduling, please call 937-641-4000 to schedule an appointment.

education and training

  • medical school: Indiana University
  • internship: Riley Hospital for Children - IU Health
  • residency: Baylor College of Medicine - child neurology
  • fellowship: Baylor College of Medicine - epilepsy
  • board certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with special qualifications in child neurology

awards, honors and organizations

  • awards:
    • 1999-2000 KCMS Faculty Teaching Award
    • EFA Flame of Hope Award, November 2003
  • organization member:
    • American Academy of Neurology
    • Child Neurology Society
    • American Epilepsy Society

get to know me

I chose my specialty because...

I really enjoyed learning about the details of neuroanatomy, neurochemistry and how it all fits together in a somewhat predictable way while at the same time being the foundation of each of our own individual uniqueness. To see the book work and lab work translated into helping patients overcome abnormalities in the nervous system, brought the human aspect to the science of medicine and made the "puzzle solving" a more personal endeavor.

I like working with kids because...

while I don't like seeing children become ill or suffer, I have found that their spirit and resilience is inspiring. I've also observed (and as a parent experienced first hand) how much more motivated adults may be in seeking help for their child over themselves. We should all take care of our own health but partnering with highly motivated parents and being inspired by patients that are children brings extra energy to any problem and helps us strategize as a team in our quest for healing.

I chose to work at Dayton Children's because...

I was immediately impressed by the focus on the patient and emphasis on quality care. The field of medicine has grown so complex and requires a substantial group of well trained professionals to implement a plan. I found a real sense of team spirit and patient prioritization from everyone I met at Dayton Children's Hospital.

Dayton Children's is special because...

there is a real commitment to providing quality care to the children of the community it serves. The patients, parents, technicians, nurses, physicians, etc are also neighbors and fellow citizens. There is a real spirit of taking good care of "our own backyard" and the children playing in it.

ratings and reviews

Question Rating Breakdown

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My daughter doesn't usually like seeing doctors, but Dr. O'Donnell was great with her and make her feel comfortable. She was thorough and helpful.

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Dr O'Donnell is truly the best neurologist ever! She truly cares for her patients and takes the time needed to find the best treatments and solutions for her patients! She even helps her patients with new issues that arise from the original diagnosis. We will be forever grateful for her help and support!

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Hi, yeah. The reason I rated the nurses low, I didn't have a lot of contact with them. The nurses didn't come in. After the visit, she told us to wait. We waited about an hour from our visit time until we saw the physician, so we had an hour wait. Then we talked to Dr. O'donnell and after the visit she told us to wait for the nurses to give us our next appointment and information. Waited another 15 to 20 minutes after the visit and they never came in. So, I walked out and said, "we are leaving." They said, "oh, okay. Do you want us to email this to you?" Nobody else was there as far as I know. I have no idea. It was a horrible experience the entire visit. Dr. O'donnell mostly talked to my daughter. I know she 17, but I am her mother and so I just felt very disrespected during the visit as well as the fact that she

star star star star star

Dr O'Donnell really listens to her patients and respects the time and trust we place in her. We left feeling confident that all our needs and concerns were addressed. Dr O'Donnell provided excellent care.

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conditions I treat

Brain tumors, Cerebral palsy, Chronic headache, Development delay, Dysautonomia, Epilepsy, Febrile seizures, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Headaches, Infantile spasms, Muscular dystrophy

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