My name is Dr. Jennifer Arnold
a.k.a. “Dr. Jen” or just Jenny if you’ve known me for 40 years or more. I am a pediatrician, neonatologist,
medical school professor, and world-renowned expert in medical simulation at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard School of Medicine. I’m also a wife, the
mother of two kids with medical complexities, and have personally overcome some rather difficult and complicated physical and health obstacles.
I was born in St. Petersburg Fl and grew up in Orlando, FL.
I am a beach girl at heart and some of my fondest days were spent either on the beach or at the house the mouse built.
Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia Type Strudwick
In between by beach days and trips to Magic Kingdom (and going to school), I had to tend to my physical challenges. I was born with a skeletal dysplasia called Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia (SED), caused by a random genetic mutation to my COL2A1 gene, found on chromosome 12. The doctors warned us of a pretty tough road ahead, with many surgeries in my future and a very good chance I wouldn't grow to be more than 4 feet tall. In fact, I've had more than 30 surgeries so far, and these days I'm scheduled for what I like to call 'tune-ups' every few years.
Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life
I've been very fortunate to have achieved many of my goals. One of the first big ones was to attend and graduate college and medical school. First, I received my undergraduate bachelor of science degrees in Biology and Psychology at the University of Miami in Florida. I then attended The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and graduated with an MD in 2000.
Apparently, I'm a glutton for punishment
After medical school, I decided that pediatrics would be my field. I attended a Pediatric Residency Program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. I decided to further subspecialize and, during my fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, I obtained a Master's of Science in Medical Education from the University of Pittsburgh. I am Board Certified in Neonatal Medicine and I’m currently the Program Director of Immersive Design Systems (formerly SIMPeds) at Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Teaching Hospital.
Dedication to Simulation
I’ve been involved in simulation education, patient safety, and research endeavors for nearly 20 years. I was a NIH postdoctoral scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Safar Center for Resuscitative Medicine from July 2006-July 2007. I have been funded for simulation educational research through the Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine, Cullen Trust for Healthcare, Texas Children’s Hospital Educational Grants, and MD Anderson Foundation. I have also published over 20 peer-reviewed articles and numerous book chapters on medical simulation.
I’ve led two pediatric healthcare simulation programs as the founding director for Texas Children’s (2008-2017) and Johns Hopkins All Children’s (2017-2021) Hospitals.
Currently, I serve as Program Director of Immersive Design Systems (formerly SIMPeds) at Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Teaching Hospital.
My areas of interest within simulation include the use of simulation for evaluating new clinical spaces, team training, improving quality and patient safety, improving home care and skills for primary caregivers of medically complex children, and developing educational curricula for various departments throughout the hospital.
Honors and Recognition
I have received awards including the Ray E. Helfer Award for Innovation in Pediatric Education from the Academic Pediatric Association in 2008, Compassionate Doctor Recognition, and Patients' Choice Award from Vitals.com multiple years, the Norton, Rose, Fullbright Excellence in Education from Baylor College of Medicine (2017), the Distinguished Educator Award from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (2022).
I’m an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, and the International Pediatric Simulation Society. I’m on the executive boards for the Center for Medical Simulation in Boston, the INSPIRE (International Network for Simulation-based Pediatric Innovation, Research, & Education), OpHeart (nonprofit dedicated to improving pediatric care of children with complex congenital heart disease) and founding Board Member for Ready.Sim.Go., dedicated to developing and disseminating simulation as a training tool for patients and families. I am a national ambassador for Speak Now for Kids through the Children’s Hospital Association (online child advocacy network to raise awareness for unique challenges of children and families in our healthcare system).
Just when I thought I had things figured out...
My husband Bill, and I, were spending some quality time with our son Will, having recently completed his adoption in China. I went to my local doctor and found out I had a molar pregnancy, which had a very small chance of becoming cancerous. As luck would have it, just as we returned home from India with our daughter Zoey, I was admitted to the hospital, diagnosed with stage 3 choriocarcinoma and subsequently scheduled for emergent surgery. The cancer had already spread to my lungs by the time we caught it, and it was rapidly growing. Thankfully, with a little determination, a team of top-notch doctors in Houston, and the support of all my friends and family, I beat cancer. It's been 9 years since I got to ring the bell.
I like wearing different hats, so I became a Speaker
I’ve spoken both nationally and internationally on healthcare simulation, inspirational speeches on overcoming obstacles, DEI in the workplace, cancer survivorship, work-life balance for professional women, and other topics for venues such as the Texas Conference for Women, SHRM, No Place for Hate, Shiners Hospital, Sloan Kettering, Pfizer, March of Dimes, and many colleges, universities, school districts and corporations around the world. You can get more info on speech topics and how to connect here -->
One area of work for which I am most proud is advocacy. I’m passionate and vocal about empowering people to become better advocates for their own healthcare. I have a personal patient and physician experience that allows me to connect with an audience:
- I’m a lifelong patient, having endured over 30 orthopedic surgeries related to her skeletal dysplasia
- I’m a cancer survivor, having recovered from stage 3 choriocarcinoma in 2014
- I’m a devoted mom, lovingly caring for her 2 young children with physical, medical, and social-emotional needs
- I’m a medical expert, with two decades of experience caring for at-risk infants at top-tier institutions
- I’m an experienced educator, with over 20 years of medical education experience including use of advanced technologies such as medical simulation, 3D printing, and virtual reality
- I have a public persona and platform that loows me to reach millions of people around the globe
And if you give a mouse a speech, she's gonna write a book
Okay, so my child-rearing is bleeding into my work a bit. I, along with my husband Bill, wrote two books... you can grab an autographed copy by clicking below.