O’Donnell, Karen

Position: Associate Professor in Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center and a Senior Research Fellow in Health Policy at Duke University.


Karen O’Donnell, Ph.D., is a child psychologist with a background in child development and Pediatric HIV. Her research interests are in early development risk: drug exposure, HIV infection, and iodine deficiency. She has ongoing research in developmental outcomes of children exposed prenatally to drugs and alcohol.

Education: Ph.D., University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill, 1983

Current Projects:  Dr. O’Donnell is currently working on a variety of project through the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research (CHPIR). Her current CHPIR projects include: Positive Outcomes for Orphans (POFO), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Child Status Index (CSI), and Malawi Orphans and Vulnerable Children Evaluation (MOVE).

Contact Information:


2812 Erwin Road, Suite 403; Durham, NC 27705-4594

OVC Wellbeing Content:

Correlates of Poor Health among Orphans and Abandoned Children in Less Wealthy Countries: The Importance of Caregiver Health

More than the loss of a parent: Potentially traumatic events among orphaned and abandoned children

Child work and labour among orphaned and abandoned children in five low and middle income countries

Prevalence and predictors of HIV-related stigma among institutional- and community-based caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children living in five less-wealthy countries

A Comparison of the Wellbeing of Orphans and Abandoned Children Ages 6–12 in Institutional and Community-Based Care Settings in 5 Less Wealthy Nations

DGHI study finds child labor is prevalent among orphans