Daughter, sister, wife, doctor, mother…in that order. It all started in Portland, Oregon, where Donna was born and raised. After enjoying a carefree childhood with her twin and older brothers, she came of age during the 60’s and 70’s and was imprinted by those tumultuous times: war, protest, the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, free love, rock and roll, assassinations, and Watergate. 

After Catholic high school, she attended Oregon State University and was drawn to medicine both because of her desire to work directly with people and her love of science. 

She married John Chacko, a graduate student from Kerala, India, and attended medical school at the University of California School of Medicine in Davis.

After completing residency training in Chicago, she and her husband settled in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they raised their three children. Dr. Chacko practiced radiation oncology for nearly 20 years in the St. Petersburg community.

The nineties were a time of great transformation for Dr. Chacko. After many years away from the church she returned to the Catholic faith of her youth. Her husband was diagnosed with leukemia and despite intensive treatment died several years later. With her three daughters leaving home for college, she made the dramatic decision to change medical specialities from radiation oncology to family medicine. This decision was driven by a desire to work with underserved populations. After re-training in family medicine she moved to Washington, D.C., where she cared mainly for immigrants and the homeless. This work opened her eyes to the full breadth of mind-body-spirit suffering. Dr. Chacko remarried and now lives with her husband in University Park, MD. Since retiring from clinical medicine, she stays busy with family, grandchildren, friends, reading, writing, gardening, and activities related to Serenity and Health. She is an active member of St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Hyattsville, Maryland, site of the initial Serenity and Health programs. Read more About Serenity and Health.


Sharon Klees RN, Donna Chacko M.D., and  Smokey Sue , a smoking doll used to demonstrate the hazards of smoking.

Sharon Klees RN, Donna Chacko M.D., and Smokey Sue, a smoking doll used to demonstrate the hazards of smoking.

  • Oregon State University, 1967-1969

  • U. of California School of Medicine, MD degree, 1974

  • U. of Chicago, completed Radiation Oncology Residency, 1979

  • Practice of Radiation Oncology, mostly in St. Petersburg FL until 1999

  • Family Medicine Residency, University of South FL, 2000-2003

  • Practice of Family Medicine, Washington, DC until 2013

  • Launch of Serenity and Health 2014

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