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Jim O’Connell has spent his medical career as a street doctor, caring for homeless people on the sidewalks, benches, and bridges where they live. O’Connell, president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and a member of the BU School of Medicine faculty, had originally planned a career in oncology, but after completing medical school at Harvard and a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, he decided to work for a year at a handful of health clinics for the homeless at places like Boston’s Long Island Shelter and the Pine Street Inn. “After four years of medical school and three years of residency, I had thought my training was finally over,” writes O’Connell in his memoir, Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor (BHCHP Press, 2015). “My education in homelessness and poverty was just beginning.”

O’Connell talks about slowing down and opening up, and how losing his stethoscope made him a better doctor.

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2 Comments on Street Doctor

  • Erna Rogers on 03.07.2016 at 9:29 am

    Thank you for profiling Dr. Jim O’Connell. He is an amazing example of the best of humanity and the medical profession. I hold him in the highest regard as do many others.

    Sally Rogers
    Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation
    Sargent College

  • Jose Artigas on 03.07.2016 at 8:37 pm

    Dr. Jim does sound like an exceptional person & professional. Since he once worked on Long Island, I wonder what he thinks of the heartless closing of its essential services & eviction of residents? Despite official disclaimers, that atrocity apparently was committed to pave the way for Olympics-related building & luxury construction.

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