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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 both with us and with our child

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The doctor was wonderful she answered all of my questions and sat in the room for awhile and wasn't rushed out like most doctor offices ! I'm so glad she is taking care of my daughter & I recommend her to everyone !

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Yes, this is my comment regarding Dr. Deborah O'donnell. She was very attentive, very specific in the questions that I asked, she answered. I would definitely say she is top of the line. She is someone that did care about our issues and my son's issue. I would love to have her always in terms of her knowledge and experience in terms of dealing with chronic pain and the other issues that I had. So, very happy to give her the 10 in just about every area. If not all areas, I think I pushed. So, she has to be, to be high commanded from our family. Thank you so much.

star star star star star

Dr O'Donnell is a fantastic neurologist. She takes the time to really listen and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the best treatment for the patient. She is kind, friendly and a caring doctor. She helped treat the issue in only one month that another neurologist couldn't and wouldn't do in five months! Dr O'Donnell is highly recommended if the best care for neurology is needed!

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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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