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On Nov. 2, the Schweitzer Fellowship honored Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Founder James (Jim) O’Connell, MD with the 2012 Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism.
This morning, WBUR (Boston’s NPR station) aired an in-depth profile of O’Connell as part of its Visionaries series. The profile is thoughtful, comprehensive, and well worth a listen for anyone who’s interested in working towards health equity and social justice.
In addition to detailing O’Connell’s nontraditional path to medicine (and, ultimately, street medicine), the evolution of his practice towards Housing First, and his approach to building trust with homeless patients, the profile highlights O’Connell’s remarkable humility:
As celebrated as he is, Dr. Jim O’Connell is exceptionally modest. At a ceremony in Cambridge in early November, when he was awarded the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, the first thing he said when he took the podium was, ‘If anybody knows a large rock, I’d love to crawl under it right now.’
Click here to read or listen to the full profile.
As O’Connell told the Observer (the newspaper of his alma mater, Notre Dame) in an interview about the Schweitzer Prize, “To get this award was really nice. I really admire what Schweitzer did and what he stood for, and it is thrilling to receive an award named in his honor. I especially like his idea that rather than what we write, we should be remembered by what we do; we should let how we live be our argument.”
O’Connell has done exactly that, and we were thrilled to honor him with this year’s Schweitzer Prize.