Lori J. Howell, DNP, RN, MS

Lori J. Howell, DNP, RN, MS, is the executive director of the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Phone: 800-468-8376

  • Background

    Lori J. Howell, DNP, RN, MS, is the Executive Director for the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. Less formally, she is known as the “glue” that connects the many working parts of this complex center. She is a familiar and much-loved face and voice to thousands of families served by the program.

    For more than 30 years, Howell has been committed to ensuring the highest standard of care for families facing birth defects. She, along with many members of the Center team, has been a force in advancing the field of fetal treatment from its inception. At the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, Howell served as the very first fetal surgery nurse coordinator for that institution’s nascent fetal program. While at UCSF, as the Clinical Nurse Specialist for Pediatric Surgery, she also developed the pediatric pain management, tracheostomy and clean intermittent catheterization programs and worked to champion education for patient families.

    Howell came to CHOP in 1995, believing the Hospital was an ideal setting in which to establish a comprehensive fetal therapy program. She was integral in launching the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment and in assembling the multidisciplinary team that brings an exceptional depth of experience in every known aspect of fetal diagnosis and therapy. More recently, she spearheaded the creation of the unique Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit.

    At CHOP, Howell has also created and led a new training program for Surgical Advanced Practice Nurses; developed a comprehensive, family-focused patient evaluation process; and collaborated in producing a series of educational videos for families confronted with life-threatening fetal diagnoses.

    “It’s so important to know as much as possible about the family and the disease their child or fetus has. After that, it is about educating them to make the family the expert in their child’s care,” she says. “As a nurse, I feel privileged to be there for a family during an intensely difficult time — to be able to offer help, knowledge, support and often, hope.”

    Howell is a recipient of the Founders Award for Excellence in Pediatric Surgical Nursing and the author of several articles on the establishment of fetal centers. She is a mentor to nurses and a source of knowledge and comfort to patients.

    Howell received her degree in Nursing at the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education at Washington State University, and received her Masters of Science in Parent/Child Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. She went on to earn her Doctor of Nursing Practice at the Villanova University College of Nursing.

    To contact the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, call 1-800-468-8376 (1-800-IN-UTERO).

  • Education and Training

    Additional Training

    MS, Parent/Child Nursing - University of California, San Francisco, CA

    Undergraduate Degree

    BSN - Washington State University, Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education

    Graduate Degree

    Clinical Nurse Specialist Pediatric Surgery and Coordinator for Fetal Treatment Center at the University of California - San Francisco
    Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Villanova University College of Nursing, Villanova, PA

  • Titles and Academic Titles

    Executive Director, Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Departments and Services
  • Publications



    Brock JW 3rd, Carr MC, Adzick NS, Burrows PK, Thomas JC, Thom EA, Howell LJ, Farrell JA, Dabrowiak ME, Farmer DL, Cheng EY, Kropp BP, Caldamone AA, Bulas DI, Tolivaisa S, Baskin LS; MOMS Investigators. Bladder Function After Fetal Surgery for Myelomeningocele. Pediatrics. 2015 Sep 28. pii: peds.2015-2114. [Epub ahead of print] Read the abstract

    Cole JC, Moldenhauer JS, Berger K, Cary MS, Smith H, Martino V, Rendon N, Howell LJ. Identifying expectant parents at risk for psychological distress in response to a confirmed fetal abnormality. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2015 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print] Read the abstract.

    Capacity Planning for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Using Discrete Event Simulation. Ferraro NM, Reamer CB, Reynolds TA, Howell LJ, Moldenhauer JS, Day TE. Am J Perinatol. 2015 Jul;32(8):761-70. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1396074. Epub 2014 Dec 17. Read the abstract

    Peranteau WH, Scott Adzick N, Boelig MM, Alan W F, Hedrick HL, Howell LJ, Moldenhauer JS, Khalek N, Martinez-Poyer J, Johnson MP. Thoracoamniotic shunts for the management of fetal lung lesions and pleural effusions: a single-institution review and predictors of survival in 75 cases. J Pediatr Surg. 2015 Feb;50(2):301-5. Read the abstract.