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Natalia Giraldo-Santiago, PhD, MSW

Postdoctoral Research Fellow 
Social Work Interventionist

Natalia is a bi-lingual and bi-cultural social worker and a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital working at CHOIR and the Center for Aging and Serious Illnesses (CASI). Natalia earned her MSW and PhD in Social Work at the University of Puerto Rico (2014) and the University of Houston (2022), respectively. Natalia's research career is driven by over five years of clinical experience in a variety of inpatient and outpatient mental health settings in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Phoenix, Arizona. Natalia's research seeks to conduct cultural and linguistic adaptations of mental health-focused Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) and evaluate the quality and effectiveness with Latinx and Spanish-speaking populations. Her research seeks to address mental health disparities by improving the adoption of EBPs among social workers, and consequently, their delivery to racial/ethnic minorities and older populations in low-income and under-resourced community settings.


Arden O'Donnell, MPH, MSW, LICSW, APHSW-C

Social Work Interventionist

Arden O'Donnell, MPH, MSW, LICSW APHSW-C is a Palliative Social Worker and researcher getting her Ph.D. at Boston University. Arden’s commitment to Palliative Care in International Public Health working with HIV/AIDS patients in Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Her professional career in Social Work as a Pediatric Palliative Care (PACT) Fellow at Children's Hospital then became a member of the Dana Farber-Brigham and Women's Palliative Care Service. She ran a clinical trial "A Focused Palliative Care Intervention for Recently Hospitalized High-Risk Patients with Heart Failure " which assessed the impact of a standardized, social-worker-led, longitudinal palliative care intervention on the alignment of patient and physician understanding of prognosis and goals of care. Arden is involved in training interprofessional teams on Communication through the Serious Illness Conversation guide and is a Vital Talk-trained clinician. She is an adjunct professor at School for Social Work and Boston University. Arden is also personally dedicated to helping children who have experienced loss through founding the non-profit, Coalition for Courage and being a dedicated foster and adoptive parent.


Ferhat Yildiz, MD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Project Manager

Ferhat Yildiz, MD, is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Aging and Serious Illness, Mongan Institute, Harvard Medical School. He recently earned his medical degree from Hacettepe University School of Medicine in Turkey. Currently, he serves as a project manager under the mentorship of Dr. Sevdenur Cizginer. His work centers on Dr. Cizginer's NIA K76 Paul B. Beeson project, which aims to adapt and implement a care transition model to improve post-discharge care for older patients who have undergone colorectal cancer surgery.

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