A World Leader in Children's Health

Lori J. Howell, MS, RN

Executive Director, Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Phone 800-468-8376

Lori J. Howell, MS, BSN, RN, 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.

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

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