Jim O'Connell

A Conversation with Jim O'Connell


December 8, 2023
12:15 pm EST - 1:15 pm EST

Join us for a live interview with Dr. Jim O’Connell, the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tracy Kidder’s book Rough Sleepers.

Dr. O'Connell will be interviewed by Laura Knoy about his work as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

Sponsored by New Hampshire Housing.

Rough Sleeps cover

Jim O’Connell, MD, serves as the President of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. O’Connell received his medical degree from Harvard University in 1982 and completed residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.  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, Dr. O’Connell designed and implemented the nation’s first computerized medical record for a homeless program.  

Dr. 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. Dr. 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 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.  

Jim O'Connell

Laura Knoy is the founding host of The Exchange, New Hampshire’s best-known and highly respected statewide call-in program. She stepped down in June of 2021, after 25 years behind the microphone. Laura is well known in New Hampshire for her award-winning in-depth coverage of important issues and is widely regarded for her interviews with presidential hopefuls.  Laura is currently an author and the creator and host of a podcast titled ReadLocalNH.

Laura Knoy
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