Social Activist to Speak at WVU

Health series addresses healthcare for the homeless

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – James J. O'Connell, M.D., physician, humanitarian, researcher, author and social activist, will be the next speaker in the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center Grand Rounds.

Dr. O'Connell’s address, “Reflections from the Streets: Two Decades of Caring for Homeless Persons in Boston,” will start at noon April 18 in the HSC Auditorium. A reception will follow.

He will discuss the demographics and unique characteristics of chronically homeless persons living on the streets of Boston, the barriers and obstacles to care for those without stable homes, explore the health care disparities associated with homelessness, review the role of academic health centers in caring for urban and rural homeless populations, and discuss future directions in homeless healthcare.

O'Connell graduated from the University of Notre Dame and earned a degree in theology from the St. John's College of Cambridge University.  He received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed residency with a clinical fellowship in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. O'Connell holds academic appointments at Harvard Medical School and Boston University.  He serves as a clinical attending at Boston Medical Center and at the Massachusetts General Hospital

In 1985, he helped to found Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, a model of care that provides medical, mental health and social services for more than 9,000 individuals annually at nearly 75 sites in the Boston metropolitan area.  Despite responsibilities as president of that organization, he continues to be best known as "Dr. Jim, Street Physician".

O'Connell is the recipient of numerous academic and humanitarian awards including the Humanism in medicine Award from the AAMC, the Thomas Dooley Humanitarian Award, and the Public Citizen of the Year from the National Association of Social Workers.  In 2000, he was named the Daniel D. Federman Outstanding Clinical Educator at Harvard Medical School.

He is the editor of the book "The Healthcare of Homeless Persons", a nationally recognized resource of information relating to health problems in both sheltered and unsheltered homeless.  He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles relating to homelessness.  His research interests include determinants of health and death among the homeless, institutional barriers to care, and societal costs of care for the homeless.

HSC Grand Rounds are an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to hear from distinguished experts from all fields of healthcare and health research, and are open to the entire University community.

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

Return To News Releases