Dawn S. Opel, JD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and User Experience in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the design of communication to enhance care coordination across clinical and community contexts. A former lawyer, she works alongside partners in law, government, healthcare and community-based organizations to design, implement, and evaluate strategies for the improvement of communication across these sectors. Her research is particularly focused on the coordination of care for older adult patients in Michigan.
Dr. Opel specializes in capacity-building across disciplines and professions for implementation research. She is principal investigator on a Mellon Foundation-funded Humanities Without Walls grant to build interdisciplinary health services research teams. She works alongside researchers and practitioners on several funded action research projects to improve multi-sector data sharing for care coordination, with partners such as the Sparrow Health System (Lansing, MI), Michigan State University Extension, The Food Bank Council of Michigan, Inc., and Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.
Dr. Opel completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Arizona State University Nexus Lab for Digital Humanities and Transdisciplinary Informatics. She received a PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics from Arizona State University. Additionally, she holds a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law.