Dr. O’Connell graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1970 and received his master’s degree in theology from Cambridge University in 1972. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1982, he completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1985, Dr. O'Connell began fulltime clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which now serves over 12,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics (Boston Medical Center and MGH) and in more than 60 shelters and outreach sites in Boston. With his colleagues, Dr. O’Connell established the nation’s first medical respite program for homeless persons in 1985, with 25 beds nested within the Lemuel Shattuck Shelter. This innovative program now provides acute and sub-acute, pre- and post-operative, and palliative and end-of-life care in BHCHP’s 104-bed Barbara McInnis House. 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 in 1995. From 1989 until 1996, 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. Dr. O’Connell has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and in a feature-length documentary entitled “Give Me a Shot of Anything.” 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. He has received numerous awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award in 2012 and The Trustees’ Medal at the bicentennial celebration of MGH in 2011. Dr. O’Connell is president of BHCHP and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Barry Bock joined BHCHP in 1990 and has served as chief executive officer since 2013. Bock, a nurse by training, is responsible for the overall administration of the program. Previously, Bock served as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program. Mr. Bock has worked in homeless health care since 1979. In 1986 he was one of three nurses to develop the Morning Nurses' Clinic at Pine Street Inn in Boston. He then served as clinic administrator until 1990, when he came to Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. When the Barbara McInnis House was established in 1993, Mr. Bock served as the director, overseeing all aspects of the respite program. He has published and lectured on the impact of the Affordable Care Act, respite care and on HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in shelters.
Jessie M. Gaeta, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
Jessie M. Gaeta, MD is the Chief Medical Officer of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, where she has practiced Internal Medicine since 2002. She oversees the clinical practice of this unique community health center that serves 12,000 people annually across dozens of clinical sites including homeless shelters, the street, and one of the first medical respite programs in the country. Dually board certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine, Dr. Gaeta graduated from the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine in 1998, trained in Internal Medicine at Boston University Medical Center, and served as Chief Resident in 2002. She completed a Physician Advocacy fellowship at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2007.
Dr. Gaeta has a long history of advocating for the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. She has been published and spoken widely on the intersection of homelessness and health and she directs BHCHP’s Institute for Research, Quality, and Policy in Homeless Health. She has led BHCHP’s efforts to respond to the overdose crisis, which has been magnified among people experiencing homelessness in Boston. Her passions include ending homelessness and bending the curve on overdose deaths.
Ms. Leung is responsible for planning, monitoring and reporting on the financial operations of the organization. She is also closely involved in long-term strategic program and financial planning. Prior to receiving her Master of Health Care Administration and working in finance, Ms. Leung was a special education teacher in Hong Kong. She also holds degrees from York University, Toronto and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Ms. Leung joined Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program in 1995.