2024 Keynote by James J. O’Connell, MD – Closing Plenary & Panel Discussion

James J. O’Connell, MD

President, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Cambridge University, and Harvard Medical School, Dr. O’Connell began full-time clinical work with people experiencing homelessness in 1985 as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which now serves more than 10,000 people and families experiencing homelessness each year in two hospital-based clinics (Boston Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital), 30 shelters and outreach sites, and on the streets of Boston.

With his colleagues, Dr. O’Connell established the nation’s first medical respite program in September 1985, with 25 beds in the Lemuel Shattuck Shelter. This program now provides acute and sub-acute, pre- and post-operative, and palliative and end-of-life care in the freestanding 104-bed Barbara McInnis House.

Dr. O’Connell’s articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and many other journals, and he’s been featured on ABC’s Nightline, CBS Evening News, and in several documentaries. In 2023, his work was chronicled in Rough Sleepers, Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People by Tracy Kidder.

Categories: Homeless Services, Medical Respite, Social Determinants of Health, Street Medicine, Workforce Development and Support
Tags: 2024 National HCH Conference
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