The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Deborah O’Neil as the Foundation’s first Director of Communications. O’Neil will be an integral part of the Foundation’s leadership, overseeing global strategic communications, media relations and branding. With a background in mission-driven, collaborative communications, O’Neil will work alongside the Trustees, Foundation partners and grant recipients to elevate important issues, examine solutions and celebrate successes.
O’Neil joins the McGovern Foundation from Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health system innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As Ariadne Labs’ first director of communications, O’Neil led the organization’s strategic communications, collaborating with scientific leaders, clinicians, and implementers around the globe. Together with a multi-disciplinary team, she created integrated communication initiatives focused on maternal/newborn mortality, dignity in childbirth, respectful end-of-life care, surgical safety and primary health care as a pillar for population health.
A former daily newspaper reporter, O’Neil spent 12 years at Florida International University in Miami where she served as speechwriter to the president and associate director of News and Communications. She is also a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves.
O’Neil brings a longtime commitment to social justice to all aspects of her work. She is the co-chair of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Prison Yoga Project and serves on the steering committee of Hands to Heart Center in Boston, a non-profit bringing yoga to communities affected by addiction, poverty and trauma. She teaches trauma-informed yoga to incarcerated women at the Suffolk County House of Corrections. She has a BA in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida and an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University.