Abstract Macroscopic magnetic field inhomogeneities severely limit sensitivity of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) in frontal and central brain regions close to brain stem. A single-shot multiecho echo-planar imaging method (TurboPEPSI) was developed that combines quantitative T 2* mapping with gradient compensation of local susceptibility inhomogeneities in multiple volumes of interest (VOIs). Gradient compensation was optimized in individual subjects based on magnetic field mapping and applied at selected echo times, interleaved with acquisition of uncompensated echoes. Intrinsic T 2* values from uncompensated echoes were obtained in real-time simultaneously with effective T 2* values from gradient compensated echoes. It is demonstrated that up to three VOIs can be compensated in a single excitation, in addition to collecting uncompensated data, using 8-echo acquisition on a clinical 1.5 Tesla scanner. A theory was developed to optimize the sequence of uncompensated and compensated echoes to achieve maximum BOLD sensitivity. Gradient compensation increased effective T 2* values in left and right amygdala on average by 18.8 +/− 7.5 ms, while maintaining sensitivity in uncompensated brain areas. In orbitofrontal cortex effective T 2* values increased by 22.2 +/− 5.3 ms. A CO 2 challenge paradigm was used to demonstrate that this gradient compensation method significantly enhances BOLD signal changes in amygdala as compared to conventional echo-planar imaging (EPI) and uncompensated TurboPEPSI.