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BU Research

“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. “My education in homelessness and poverty was just beginning.” BU Research spoke to O’Connell about slowing down, opening up, and how losing his stethoscope made him a better doctor.

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Santa Barbara Independent

A few weeks after a 600-person army of volunteers scoured Santa Barbara County to tally the homeless population and assess their needs, a lecture hall packed with UCSB students heard from two out-of-town doctors about the importance of “street medicine” in providing care to the indigent.

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Behavioral Healthcare

A Boston not-for-profit turned heads in April when it opened a safe room where drug users can ride out highs under medical supervision. The Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment, operated under the Boston Health Care for the Homeless program, specifically notes it is not a safe injection facility, therefore, drug-use activity is not permitted on the property.

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The Boston Globe

The Boston stop on Murthy’s “Turn the Tide Rx” tour brought him to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program on Albany Street, at the heart of “Methadone Mile,” so nicknamed for the cluster of homeless shelters and drug addiction programs there that draw people battling substance abuse from across the city. Accompanied by the program’s top officials and state Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, Murthy toured the facility and met with patients who shared their stories of stigmatization and recovery.

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Harvard Medical Magazine

For the past three decades, James O’Connell ’82 has spent his days, and often his nights, bringing health care to Boston’s homeless population. As the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, O’Connell practices medicine among those who are often overlooked. He was seeking such a purpose when, at age 30, he arrived at HMS, eager to learn and to find his place in medicine.

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Notre Dame Magazine

On a Thursday morning, I squeeze into a tiny examination room at Massachusetts General Hospital in downtown Boston alongside Dr. James O’Connell ’70, a specialist in treating the chronically homeless. O’Connell is 68 years old, with silver-white hair, blue eyes and a disarmingly amiable manner. Already in the room are two psychiatrists, two nurses, a nurse practitioner and a case worker, all full-time staff of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s street team.

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WGBH

Dr. Jessie Gaeta is the Chief Medical Officer at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Gaeta is opening up a clinic where heroin users and other people struggling with addiction can ride out their high in a safe place.

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The Boston Globe

So it turns out that, as was feared, Melvin, the homeless guy who was a fixture in Kenmore Square for more than 30 years, has died.

Melvin died of an apparent heroin overdose Oct. 16 in a park next to the Fenway Victory Garden, a half mile from his familiar perch on the stoop of the derelict West Gate building.

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The Boston Globe

Boston health officials are vaccinating hundreds of homeless people against a severe bacterial infection that can kill within hours, after a homeless man died Monday from the disease.

The victim was among three homeless men who recently came down with meningococcemia, which occurs when certain bacteria get into the bloodstream. The fatal case appears to be unrelated to the other two, which occurred in late January and involved a different strain of the bacteria, said Dr. Denise De Las Nueces, medical director of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, a nonprofit agency managing the response.

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Wicked Local

Every Monday afternoon from 1 to 3, you’ll find Waltham resident Richard Daggett doing something rather unusual: tending to the feet of homeless people.

Daggett, a 76-year-old retired hospital executive, is a volunteer with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), a nonprofit delivering healthcare to more than 12,000 homeless men, women and children a year at 70 shelters and other sites.

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Billie Starks for The Boston Globe

I hope that our community will continue to turn attention to and exhibit bravery over the gravity of trauma and addiction.

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Boston Business Journal

Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program is making headlines as of late, with news that the organization is trying to open up a safe space for drug users to ride out their high.

The idea may sound counterintuitive to solving the city’s growing opioid epidemic, but the organization hasn’t lasted 30 years and catered to some of the neediest clients by doing the expected.

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The New York Times

I was recently given a rather astonishing little book called “Stories From the Shadows,” by James J. O’Connell, M.D. “Dr. Jim,” as he’s known on the streets of Boston, where for 30 years he has been bringing medical treatment to the homeless, is a scrupulous clinician and a skillful writer, and his book takes the form — outwardly — of a sequence of case histories and clinical encounters.

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Wicked Local

Dr. Virginia Barrow of Winchester has found her true calling.

Since 2011, Barrow, known as Ginger, has been providing medical health care for homeless patients in downtown Boston as a physician on staff at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

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CBS News

Dr. James O’Connell has been called by some the “Saint of Boston.”

He co-founded the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program in the 1980s, and it has since become the largest free-standing treatment center for the homeless in the country.

O’Connell, who is also an assistant professor at Harvard University, is now out with a new memoir, Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor. In it, he describes his nearly three decades of treating our city’s most vulnerable.

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Newport Daily News

In more than 30 years with the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Dr. James O’Connell has accumulated stories of homeless men and women that couldn’t be
made up.

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