A rare opportunity to join a master of his craft in conversation with the remarkable subject of his work-in-progress. Beloved for his modern classics on global health Mountains Beyond Mountains and Strength in What Remains, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder’s next project will tell the story of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and its founding physician and president Dr James O’Connell. Drawing on the extraordinary stories of BHCHP’s patients and providers, Kidder and Dr O’Connell offer essential lessons about human connection, community healthcare, and why the crises facing our most vulnerable must matter to all of us.
Widely regarded as a master of narrative nonfiction, Tracy Kidder launched his exceptional career with The Soul of a New Machine, which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Kidder has enjoyed enormous success with Mountains Beyond Mountains and Strength in What Remains, both of which are popular common read selections. Mountains is about charismatic humanitarian Dr. Paul Farmer and his efforts to address the global health crises of AIDS and TB through his NGO Partners In Health. Kidder’s other books include House, Among Schoolchildren, Old Friends, and Home Town.
Dr. James O’Connell is the President and Founding Physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which serves over 12,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics and 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.
His first book, Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor, was published in 2015. 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.In addition to his role at BHCHP, he is also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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