About the Speaker

Jim O’Connell, M.D., serves as the president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) and is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his medical degree from Harvard University in 1982 and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In 1985, he began full-time clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the program. He established the nation’s first medical respite program in 1985, with 25 beds nested within the Lemuel Shattuck Shelter. Working with the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science, he designed and implemented the nation’s first computerized medical record for a homeless program.  

O’Connell served as the national program director of the Homeless Families Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. O’Connell is the editor of The Health Care of Homeless Persons: A Manual of Communicable Diseases and Common Problems in Shelters and on the Streets. His articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Circulation, the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, and several other medical journals. His first book, Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor, was published in 2015 and featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. His work at BHCHP is the subject of the New York Times best-seller Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People by Tracy Kidder, published in 2023.

This event is sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry.