Jennifer Needle, MD, MPH

Associate Professor

Expertise: Advance Care Planning | Pediatrics | Palliative Care | Clinical Ethics

Dr. Jennifer Needle’s clinical work is within the Pediatric ICU at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. As the sole member of the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics with an appointment in the Center for Bioethics, she serves as a resource to students, residents, and faculty who face ethical challenges in the clinical care of pediatric patients. She has developed a local, regional, and national reputation as a leading early investigator in the field of pediatric palliative care and advance care planning. 

Dr. Needle’s academic focus is on adolescent and young adult advance care planning for patients with potentially life-limiting illnesses. Currently, Dr. Needle is the principal investigator of a pilot study, funded by the American Cancer Society and the Children's Cancer Research Fund, utilizing a validated advance care planning intervention for adolescents and young adults undergoing bone marrow transplant. In addition, she has secured funding from a private donor with interest in this line of research. She is a co-investigator evaluating the impact of the intervention on adolescents and young adults with cancer.

Dr. Needle’s future work will involve collaborating with colleagues at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber to adapt the Ariadne Labs Serious Illness Conversation Guide to pediatric patients, specifically for use in the pediatric ICU. In addition, she is in the process of developing a program to evaluate whether utilizing volunteer parents of adolescents with life-threatening illness in the advance care planning process for newly diagnosed patients impacts long-term decision-making about the use of life-sustaining treatment. 

Dr. Needle has a BA from Washington University in Biology and Political Science and an MPH from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Needle completed her MD at Howard University and Residence and Fellowship at Case Western University. Additionally, Needle completed a fellowship in Biomedical Ethics at the Oregon Health and Science University. Dr. Needle is board certified to practice pediatric critical medicine and pediatric medicine. She also holds a certification in next steps advance care planning facilitation out of the Respecting Choices Program in the Gundersen Health Systems. 

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Selected Publications

Selected Publications

  • Needle J, Peden-McAlpine C, Liaschenko J, Boss R.  Stopping the Momentum of Clinical Cascades in the PICU: Intentional responses to the limits of medicine. Journal of Palliative Care, Online May 29, 2019 (in press).
  • Needle JS, Peden-McAlpine C, Liaschenko J. Physician perspectives on adolescent and young adult advance care planning: the fallacy of informed decision-making. Journal of Clinical Ethics 2019; Summer 30(2)131-142. 
  • Kamrath H*, George T, Stover-Haney R, Osterholm E,O’Conner-Von S, Needle J. Lasting Legacy: Maternal Perspectives of Perinatal Palliative Care.  Journal of Palliative Medicine 2019; 22(3) 310-315. 
  • Needle JS, Brunquell D, Lyon M, Heith C*.  Mature minors, mature decisions: Advance care planning for adolescent patients with life-limiting illness. Journal of Pediatric Ethics 2018; 1(3). 
  • Needle JS, Bjorklund A*, Gupta S. Considerations in Caring for Adult Patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Journal of Pediatric Intensive Care 2017;6: 77-82. 
  • Sveen W*, Sury M, Needle J. If Truth Be Told: Paternal Nondisclosure in Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection. Journal of Pediatric Ethics 2017; 1(1).
  • Needle JS, Smith AR. The Impact of Advance Directives on End-of-Life Care for Adolescents and Young Adults Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2016; 19(3) 300-305. 
  • Needle JS.  Ethical Challenges in Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant.  Journal of Pediatric Intensive Care 2014; 3 (3) 195-200. 
  • Needle JS, Mularski RA, Nguyen T, Fromme EK. Influence of personal preferences for life-sustaining treatment on medical decision making among pediatric intensivists. Critical Care Med 2012; 40(8) 2464-2469. 
  • Nakagawa, TA, Rigby MR, Bratton S; Shemie S; Ajizian SJ, Berkowitz, Ivor MD; Bowens CD, Cosio CC, Curley MA, Dhanani S, Dobyns E, Easterling L, Fortenberry JD, Helfaer MA, Kolovos NS, Koogler, T, Lebovitz DJ, Michelson K, Morrison W, Naim, MY, Needle J, Nelson B, Rotta AT, Rowin ME, Serrao K, Shore PM, Smith, S, Thompson AE, Vohra A, Weise K. A call for full public disclosure for donation after circulatory determination of death in children. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2011; 12(3):375-377. 
  • Needle JS.  Home extubation by a pediatric critical care team: Providing a compassionate death outside the pediatric intensive care unit.  Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2010; 11(3) 401-403. Impact factor: 3.092. Citations: 24. Role: Conducted literature search, manuscript preparation, manuscript editing, manuscript review Needle JS, O’Riordan MA, Smith, P. Parental Understanding of Children’s Life-Threatening Illness in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2009; 10(6) 668-674. 
  • Needle JS, Anderson, M. Medical Emergency Teams: Are improved outcomes really like day and night? Critical Care Med 2006; 34(6) 1840-1 (editorial).