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Three decades ago, Jim O’Connell, MD, was fresh out of Harvard Medical School and on his way to a prestigious oncology fellowship at Sloan-Kettering. His mentor, a legendary Boston doctor-humanitarian, asked him to head up a new pilot medical program for the city’s homeless men, women and children— Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP). Dr. O’Connell thought he’d put in a few years, and then get back on track with his “real” career. But along the way, he fell in love with the challenges of homeless medicine, his patients and their stories.


Jim O’Connell, MD, has a master’s degree in theology from Cambridge University and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the founding physician and president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which delivers services to more than 12,000 homeless men, women and children at more than 60 shelters and sites.

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