Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH

Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH


On staff since September 2005

Children's Title: Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics

Academic Title: Assistant Professor, Division of Bioethics and Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington School of Medicine

Research Center: Center for Clinical and Translational Research

"I am passionate about treating the whole patient. I try not to stop at understanding a child's illness; I also try to understand their (and their family's) emotions, aspirations, values and goals. It is gratifying to see how much this often helps the healing process."

Douglas J. Opel, MD, is an assistant professor in the Divisions of Bioethics and General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, and at the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Childrens Hospital.

Dr. Opel received his MD from the University of Chicago and completed his residency and chief residency in pediatrics at the University of Washington and Seattle Childrens Hospital. He is a general pediatrician at Seattle Childrens Hospital and the University of Washington Medical Center-Roosevelt. His research interests include provider-parent communication, clinical ethics, and childhood vaccines.


  • Misty Pullman, WA 07.18.11

    My son was quite ill and the doctors were not sure exactly what was wrong for a while. It was a very scary time for us. Dr. Opel was wonderful! And exactly like his quote says, he does care for the patient and family as a whole. We saw more doctors than I ever wanted to during our stay at Children's, but Dr. Opel was our favorite. We ran into him a year later in the cafeteria while there for follow up care and he remember us, our son, and even what we did for a living. Fabulous man! Excellent doctor!


Board Certification(s)


Medical/Professional School

University of Chicago, Chicago
University of Washington, Seattle


Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle


University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Research Description

My research interests include provider communication strategies that improve parental acceptance of childhood vaccines and devising methods to identify and address organizational issues underlying ethical conflict.

Research Focus Area

Translational Research


  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    Impact of a Pertussis Epidemic on Infant Vaccination in Washington State
    Pediatrics , 2014 Aug. 18 : 456-64
  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    How You Start the Conversation Matters
    Minn Med. , 2014 May : 97(5)50-1
  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    A 6-Month-Old With Vaccine-Hesitant Parents
    Pediatrics , 2014 Mar. : 133(3)526-30
  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    The Architecture of Provider-Parent Vaccine Discussions at Health Supervision Visits
    Pediatrics , 2013 Dec. : 132(6)1037-46
  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    Rethinking Vaccine Policy Making in an Era of Vaccine Hesitancy: Time to Rebuild, Not Remodel?
    Hum Vaccin Immunother , 2013 Dec. : 9(12)2672-3
  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    The Relationship Between Parent Attitudes About Childhood Vaccines Survey Scores and Future Child Immunization Status: a Validation Study
    JAMA Pediatr , 2013 Nov. : 167(11)1065-71
  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    Use of Alternative Childhood Immunization Schedules in King County, Washington, USA
    Vaccine , 2013 Oct. 1 : 31(42)4699-701
  • Douglas J. Opel, MD, MPH
    Missed Opportunities for Adolescent Vaccination, 2006-2011
    J Adolesc Health , 2013 July 1 : 53(4)492-7
  • Opel DJ, Marcuse EK
    Window or Mirror: Social Networks' Role in Immunization Decisions
    Pediatrics , 2013 Apr, 15 : 131(5)1619-20
  • Opel DJ, Taylor JA, Phillipi CA, Diekema DS
    The Intersection of Evidence and Values in Clinical guidelines: Who Decides What Constitutes Acceptable Risk in the Care of Children?
    Hospital Pediatrics , 2013 Apr, 1 : 3(2)87-91
  • Opel DJ, Marcuse EK
    The Enigma of Alternative Childhood Immunization Schedules: What Are the Questions?
    JAMA Pediatrics , 2013 Jan. 21 : 167(3)304-5
  • Opel DJ
    Physician, Parent, Patient: Where Exactly Is the Line?
    Hastings Center Report , 2012 Oct. 15 : 42(6)14-18
  • Opel DJ, Banerjee A, King P, Paul C, Glassy D, Yasuda K
    Washington State Licensed Child Care Facility Directors' Perspectives on Childhood Immunization
    Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society , 2012 Sept. 19 : 2(1)40-9
  • Opel DJ, Olson ME
    Ethics for the Pediatrician: Bioethics Education and Resources
    Pediatrics in Review , 2012 Aug. 1 : 33(8)370-73
  • Taylor JA, Opel DJ
    Choriophobia: A One-Act Play
    Pediatrics , 2012 July 9 : 130(2)342-6
  • Opel DJ, Robinson JD, Heritage J, Korfiatis C, Taylor JA, Mangione-Smith R
    Characterizing Providers Immunization Communication Behaviors during Health Supervision Visits with Vaccine-Hesitant Parents: A Pilot Study
    Vaccine , 2012 Feb. 8 : 30(7)1269-75
  • Wightman A, Opel DJ, Marcuse E, Taylor J
    Washington State Pediatricians Attitudes Towards Alternative Childhood Immunization Schedules
    Pediatrics , 2011 Nov. 28 : 128(6)1094-9
  • Opel DJ, Diekema DS
    Finding the proper balance between freedom and justice: why we should not eliminate personal belief exemptions to vaccine mandates
    Journal of health politics, policy and law , 2011 Oct. 14 : 37(1)141-7
  • Opel D
    Parental Refusals of Vaccination and School Vaccine Mandates: Balancing Parental Freedom, Child Welfare, and Public Health In Clinical Ethics in Pediatrics: A Case-based Textbook
    Cambridge University Press , 2011 Oct. : 205-10
  • Payne DC, Humiston S, Opel DJ, Klein E, Kennedy A, Wikswo M, Downing K, Kobayashi A, Albertin C, Chesley C, Staat M
    A Multi-Center, Qualitative Assessment of Pediatrician and Parental Perspectives in Addressing the Detection of Porcine Circovirus in Rotavirus Vaccines
    BMC Pediatrics , 2011 Sept. 26 : 11:83
  • Opel DJ, Taylor J, Mangione-Smith R, Solomon C, Catz S, and Martin D
    Construct Validity of a Survey to Identify Vaccine-Hesitant Parents
    Vaccine , 2011 July 16 : 29(38)
  • Opel DJ, Korfiatis C, Wiese C, Catz S, Mangione-Smith R, Taylor JA, and Martin
    Development of a Survey to Identify Vaccine Hesitant Parents: The Parental Attitudes about Childhood Vaccines Survey
    Human Vaccines , 2011 Apr, 1 : 7(4)419-25
  • Opel DJ, Diekema DS, Marcuse EM
    Not Just a Bad Apple, but a Bad Barrel: The Biomedical Research System in the Wake of Wakefield
    BMJ , 2011 Jan. 22 : 342.179-80


Presentations Title Event Location Date
Identifying, Understanding, and Talking with Vaccine-Hesitant Parents Symposium, "From package to protection: How do we close global coverage gaps to optimize the impact of vaccination?" Fondation Mrieux Conference Center, Veyrier-du-Lac, France Sept. 24, 2014 - Sept. 25, 2014
Communicating with Parents about Vaccination National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Clinical Vaccinology Course Seattle, WA March 22, 2014
The Parent Attitudes about Childhood Vaccine (PACV) Survey: Development, Evaluation, and Future Directions National Vaccine Advisory Committee Sept. 9, 2013
Rising to the Occasion: Strategies for Communicating with Vaccine Hesitant Parents American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition New Orleans, LA Oct. 22, 2012
Taking Talk to the Next Level: In Search of Communication Practices that Increase Parental Immunization Acceptance National Immunization Conference, Hosted by the CDC On Line Atlanta, GA March 27, 2012
Findings on Alternative Immunization Schedule Practices Institute of Medicine Committee on the Safety of the Childhood Immunization Schedule Seattle, WA March 8, 2012
Increasing Childhood Immunization Through Improved Provider-Parent Communication Pediatric Grand Rounds, University of Oklahoma Oklahoma City, OK Nov. 11, 2011
Blurring the Boundaries of Research and Clinical Care: A Constructive Ambiguity? 12th Annual American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Meeting Minneapolis, MN Oct. 14, 2011
Rising to the Occasion: Strategies for Communicating with Vaccine Hesitant Parents Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting Denver, CO May 3, 2011

Research Funding

Grant Title Grantor Amount Award Date
Increasing Childhood Immunization Rates through Improved Provider-Parent Communication NIH / NICHD $649,652.00 Aug. 6, 2011
Randomized Controlled Trial of Provider Intervention to Improve Childhood Immunizations in Hesitant Parents Group Health Foundation $30,242.00 July 1, 2011