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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! 

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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Dr. O'Donnell is amazing. She actively solved my sons issues quickly and passionately.

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This was our first time seeing this provider and she was great. She was very friendly and listened to concerns. She was also great with my son. Highly recommend this provider.

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Everyone was great with our son

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Dr. O'Donnell was so so great! She took time with us to go through some history of our daughter's issues, which really meant a lot since we wanted answers. She was also so interactive and patient with our 2 year old. We felt confident in her knowledge and the way she explained symptoms/diagnosis to us. I couldn't have asked for a better neurologist than Dr. O'Donnell.

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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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