Cathy Donnell, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

Clinical Assistant Professor


Dr. Donnell’s post-doctoral work was completed at the University of Michigan, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation with emphasis in researching sensory amplification in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and barriers to patient engagement in rehabilitative treatment. She has been a long term article reviewer for Arthritis Care and Research.

Dr. Donnell has worked as a behavioral health psychologist for the VA system since 2009. Initially, she worked in the palliative and continuous living center (CLC) units  and as the evidence based psychotherapy coordinator at the Aleda E. Lutz VA, Saginaw, Michigan. Dr. Donnell is a Certified Trainer for both The Education in Palliative and End of Life Care Trainer (ELNEC) and The End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (EPEC). From 2011-2019, she began her work as attending psychologist in Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) at the Lte. Charles S. Kettles VA Ann Arbor, Michigan. While working in PCMHI, Dr. Donnell also was engaged in behavioral health/integrated care by providing services to veterans dealing with adjustment to a variety of medical diagnoses, including cancer diagnoses, reproductive issues, fibromyalgia, ALS and MS. From Fall, 2019 until present, Dr. Donnell has worked in behavioral/integrated care at the Jackson CBOC, focusing on veterans who are seeking assistance through behavioral change, specifically addressing veteran needs of smoking cessation, insomnia, chronic pain, weight and diabetes management, compliance and adherence with treatment recommendations, and adjustment to chronic medical conditions.

Dr. Donnell has completed VA evidenced based trainings in Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, Hypnosis, and Problem Solving Therapy. She was a national trainer and consultant for the Problem Solving Training-Moving Forward Program from , and was National Program Coordinator for this program in  2014.

Dr. Donnell has demonstrated a strong commitment to oncology and has been a member the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) Professional Education Committee for over 5 years. She has been moderator for several workshops as part of the Psycho-oncology Institute. Additionally, she has moderated webinars and most recently, engaged in developing psycho-oncology professional competencies. In addition, she has been a participant in submitting  an R25 to develop virtual training in psycho-oncology with emphasis on rural and underserved populations.

Additionally, Dr. Donnell contributes to patient health outcomes, offering Hypnosis and Mindfulness, and Chair Chi to veterans as part of the VA Whole Health program. She continues to become more engaged with this program at the VISN level.

Areas of Interest

  • biopsychosocial model of illness and specifically, the intersect of these domains as they relate to chronic medical conditions including chronic pain, diabetes, weight management, cardiology, and adjustment to cancer diagnosis and treatment.

  • development of core competencies for mental health professionals working in psycho-oncology
  • development of Virtual Training for psychosocial oncology providers, especially in underserved communities
  • women’s reproductive issues, specifically infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirths
  • dissemination of WHOLE HEALTH philosophy and practice of integrating into biopsychosocial treatment of individuals.


  • ABPP: American Board of Professional Psychology

  • Post-doctoral fellowship: University of Michigan, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Clinical APA Internship: George Washington University, Counseling Center
  • Ph.D.: Clinical Psychology, George Washington University
  • M.S.: Clinical Psychology, Eastern Michigan University
  • B.A.Ed.: Psychology and Math major, University of Michigan

Published Articles or Reviews