Homelessness, Social Medicine and COVID-19 with Dr. Jim O’Connell

Published

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the magnitude of health inequities that exist today. In this Curbside Consults as part of our “Inclusivity in Medicine” series, Dr. Jim O’Connell, President of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program joins us to discuss how the homeless of Boston have been affected by the pandemic and the work of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program during this time.

0:08 – Introduction
2:00 – Effect of COVID-19 on homeless people
4:40 – Response to COVID-19
8:50 – Quarantine/Isolation facilities
13:00 – Accessing non-COVID-19 care
15:00 – Mental health, homelessness, and COVID-19
17:15 – COVID-19 Impact on Boston Healthcare for the Homeless routine services
19:02 – Positive outcomes from pandemic response
22:00 – Policies to reduce health inequity for homeless people
25:50 – Healthcare workers helping homeless people
29:55 – End

Resources and articles discussed in this episode:

1. Berkowitz SA et al. Covid-19 and Health Equity — Time to Think Big. N Engl J Med 2020.
2. Gaeta JM et al. Case 21-2020: A 66-Year-Old Homeless Man with Covid-19. N Engl J Med 2020.
3. Lahey T. The Bottom of the Health Care Rationing Iceberg. N Engl J Med 2020.
4. MacKenzie OW et al. An Isolation Hotel for People Experiencing Homelessness. N Engl J Med 2020.

Inequity, inequality, and racism are once more being recognized as factors that are highly detrimental to good health and wellbeing. The Curbside Consults “Inclusivity in Medicine” series aims to explore how these factors affect patients and how they may be overcome.

The Curbside Consults series complements the foundational information in Rotation Prep by taking a deep dive into key clinical topics with expert clinicians and educators. These podcasts explore and critique the evidence behind clinical practice and break down statistical concepts for the busy clinical trainee.

 Dr. Jim O’Connell is the President of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program.



 James is a 2020-2021 NEJM Editorial Fellow and a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has a Masters of Science in Evidence-Based Healthcare from University College London and completed Basic Specialist Training in general internal medicine with the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.

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