In This Section

Jennifer Walter, MD, PhD, MS
Jennifer Walter
Attending Physician

Dr. Walter's research in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit includes the customization of an interprofessional team and family-based intervention to improve communication about goals of care, and teamwork and evaluation of the intervention. Knowledge gained from this research will guide future interventions to improve outcomes for pediatric patients with advanced heart disease and their families.



Dr. Walter works at the intersection of clinical practice and bioethics with an emphasis on the physician-patient relationship, interprofessional teamwork, and family-centered care. Her current research focuses on facilitating and improving communication between the health care team and families of children with chronic and terminal illness.

Dr. Walter has led a randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of continuity intensivists on patient and family outcomes in the pediatric intensive care unit and is currently leading a study in the cardiac intensive care unit to improve teamwork and family preparation for family meetings. Her goal is to evaluate primary palliative care interventions for interprofessional teams of clinicians working with seriously ill patients.

Her other work has characterized how children die within the hospital and the kind of exposure pediatric residents have to death during their training as well as the impact that palliative care plays on pediatric death.

In addition, Dr. Walter has provided a theoretical foundation and pragmatic steps for how clinicians can improve their decision support of patients/parents of seriously ill children. Dr. Walter's work also includes empirical analysis of the boundaries of ethical interactions between physicians and their patients, as well as the analysis of factors influencing vulnerable subjects' participation in clinical research.

Education and Training

BA, Loyola University Chicago (Philosophy), 1998

PhD, Georgetown University (Philosophy), 2005

MD, Georgetown University, 2007

MS, University of Michigan (Health and Health Care Research), 2011

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Professional Memberships

Ethics Committee Member, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2012-

Leonard Davis Institute, University of Pennsylvania (Senior Fellow), 2013-

Publication Highlights

Madrigal V, Walter JK, Sachs E, Himebauch AS, Kubis S, Feudtner C. Pediatric continuity care intensivist: A randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials. 2019 Jan; 76:72-78. PMID: 30468772
Walter JK, Hwang J, Fiks A. Pragmatic Strategies for Shared Decision-Making. Pediatrics. 2018 Nov; 142(Suppl 3):S157-S162. PMID: 30385622
Walter JK, Griffith K, Jagsi R. Oncologists' Experiences and Attitudes About Their Role in Philanthropy and Soliciting Donations From Grateful Patients. Clin Oncol. 2015 Nov; 33(32):3796-801. PMID: 26416998
Walter JK, Ross LF. Relational Autonomy: Moving Beyond the Limits of Isolated Individualism. Pediatrics. 2014 Feb; 133 Suppl 1:S16-23. PMID: 24488536
Walter JK, B Benneyworth, M Housey, MM Davis. Factors Associated with High Quality Communication for Critically-Ill Children. Pediatrics. 2013 Mar; 131 Suppl 1:S90-5. PMID: 23457155

Links of Interest