Helping “grey” (nontraditional) publishers produce books and succeed in the market is an exciting part of what OBS does, so it gives us great pleasure to see a Boston organization, whose mission we so admire, emerge into the world of publishing. Celebrating 30 years of continuous care of Boston’s homeless population, “Stories From the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor” by Dr. James (“Jim”) O’Connell, tells the story of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), which he founded, by telling the stories of the many pilgrims — his patients — who have passed through its doors.
Fresh out of Harvard Medical school in 1985, Dr. O’Connell agreed to just one rotation caring for Boston’s homeless. This one rotation turned into an entire, ground-breaking medical career that is beginning to reform health care for the neediest citizens nationwide. BHCHP started as a group of volunteers, doctors, and nurses who reached the homeless where they lived, driving a van through the city’s streets by night. Now with its own dedicated facility, and partnerships with many hospitals, shelters, and respite homes, BHCHP serves as a model for other cities, offering health care for the homeless with a compassion and dignity that is as inspiring as it is groundbreaking.
BHCHP has successfully integrated itself with Boston’s world-class hospitals, become part of the medical school curricula of its leading universities, and receives major media attention and funding from philanthropic organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Reading “Stories from the Shadows” will introduce you to a remarkable and humble man, Dr. O’Connell, who, together with the staff he inspires, and the patients they care for, shows that one man can indeed change the world.