Cambridge Forum, in partnership with the
Harvard Square Business Association
invites you to join us for an in-person discussion with
“Rough Sleepers” author Tracy Kidder and Dr. Jim O’Connell, renowned physician, humanitarian and President of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program.
First Parish, 3 Church Street Cambridge
or on Zoom
March 28th at 5:00pm
In-person RSVP to:
Tracy Kidder’s, “ROUGH SLEEPERS” centers around one dedicated doctor and his mission to provide medical care to the homeless. The book is a powerful account of the dedicated work of “Dr. Jim” O’Connell, a physician who founded Boston Health Care for the Homeless in 1985. When O’Connell graduated from Harvard Medical School and was nearing the end of his residency, the Chief of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital asked him if he would defer a prestigious fellowship to spend a year helping create an organization to bring health care to the homeless. Dr. Jim took the job because he felt he couldn’t refuse, but that one year was to turn into a lifetime working with the homeless on the streets of Boston and in his Thursday Street Clinic at MGH. Now in his 70s, Dr Jim is still captain of the “Street Team” who provide care for the city’s unhoused population – the people who sleep rough.
“Rough Sleepers” is the result of spending five years shadowing O’Connell’s work bringing medical care, socks, soup, humor and friendship to some of the city’s most endangered individuals. Much as he did in his profile of Paul Farmer, Kidder explores how a small but dedicated group of people have improved and gladdened thousands of lives by facing one of America’s most difficult problems, rather than looking away.
Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. His books include; Mountains Beyond Mountains, Strength in What Remains, The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, Old Friends, Hometown and A Truck Full of Money.
Dr. Jim O’Connell is President of Boston Health Care and assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He began fulltime clinical work with the homeless in 1985 when he became the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which now serves over 13,000 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.
O’Connell has received numerous awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award in 2012 and he has collaborated with homeless programs in many cities in the USA and around the world, from London to Sydney. He is both an unsung hero to the homeless and the subject of Tracy Kidder’s latest book “Rough Sleepers”, which is the product of Kidder shadowing his work for 5 years.