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Karen Donelan, ScD

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Senior Scientist, MGH Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital

Contact Info

Karen Donelan
Massachusetts General Hospital
100 Blossom Street
Boston, MA, 02114
Phone: 617-726-0681


Not Available.

DF/HCC Program Affiliation

Cancer Risk and Disparities

Research Abstract

I am a health services survey researcher with experience leading institutional, local, regional, national and international surveys on a range of health and health policy topics. I work within the DF/HCC, MGH Cancer Center, Partners Institute for Health Policy and MGH Institute for Technology Assessment. I serve on committees on disparities within the DF/HCC and MGH.

My work in the DF/HCC includes multiple survey projects to improve access to health care and health information for all patients. I measure the perceptions of patients, clinical staff, and the broader public about experiences in health care. I have published several papers about barriers to health care for the uninsured and racial and ethnic minorities. I evaluate programs to overcome disparities, including several patient navigator programs. I have worked to assure that we survey patients in the language(s) in which they are proficient, as too often patients with limited English proficiency are not included in our research. Growing from my interest in language barriers, I also lead an effort to create a multiligual patient guide for women with cancer.

I am interested in how both human assistance and technology can be used to assist patients and families in understanding and gaining access to health services and systems. I am working on several projects related to physician referrals and patient self-referrals and the information that could enhance the quality of that process.

I also participate in a new project on Electronic Health Record adoption funded by the Office of the National Coordinator on Health Information Technology. My focus is on improving survey quality standards, reducing disparities and increasing patient access to personal health records.


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