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Tracy Kidder: Rough Sleepers

Fri, April 7th, 2023
7:00 pm
- 8:30 pm

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Tracy Kidder will be joined on stage for a conversation with Dr. Jim O’Connell, the subject of his latest book, Rough Sleepers. Sara LaLumia, professor of Economics, will moderate the conversation. Free and open to the public. Book signing to follow. No tickets required. All are welcome.

TRACY KIDDER—Widely regarded as a master of narrative nonfiction, Kidder launched his exceptional career with The Soul of a New Machine, which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. His many beloved bestsellers include Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World and Strength in What Remains–both enormously popular common read titles for hundreds of libraries, medical schools, and campuses nationwide. Kidder’s latest New York Times bestseller, Rough Sleepers, chronicles the work of Dr. Jim O’Connell and other incredible humanitarians at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless working to provide high-quality healthcare for the city’s unhoused. In Mountains Kidder tells the story of charismatic humanitarian Dr. Paul Farmer and his quest to address the global health crises of AIDS and TB through his NGO Partners In Health. Strength introduces us to a young medical student, Deo, who survives the ethnic civil war in Burundi and escapes to the US to seek redemption through education and service to others. Both books are deft accounts of real people who have prevailed against seemingly impossible circumstances.  Kidder’s writing has appeared in numerous periodicals, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Granta, and The New York Times.  Kidder’s other books include Among Schoolchildren, Old FriendsHome Town and Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction, written with his longtime editor, the late Richard Todd.

DR JAMES O’CONNELL—Dr . James O’Connell serves as the President of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. O’Connell is the subject of the instant New York Times bestseller Rough Sleepers by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder, which traces how, with his colleagues, Dr. O’Connell established the nation’s first medical respite program for homeless persons in 1985 with 25 beds and grew it into the landmark organization it is today, providing care (medical, behavioral, youth and family services, and case management) to nearly 10,000 individuals (adults and children) every year across 30+ clinic sites in shelters and hospitals, at their medical respite program, and on the streets. From 1989 until 1996, Dr. O’Connell served as the National Program Director of the Homeless Families Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is the author of Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor. His articles have appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Circulation, the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, and several other medical journals. Dr. O’Connell received his medical degree from Harvard University in 1982 and completed residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. 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.

Sara LaLumia is a professor of Economics.  She studies the U.S. individual income tax, with particular emphasis on how families are taxed. She has written about tax benefits for children, and how they affect the employment and other outcomes of parents. She has previously served as a journal editor for International Tax and Public Finance.  She teaches classes at all levels of the economics curriculum, with a focus on analysis of public policy.  She has also taught in the Political Economy program.

Presented as part of the Cohan Family Forum series on Mental Health and Trauma. Co-sponsored by the  Class of ‘71 Public Affairs Forum, the Lecture Committee, and the Davis Center, and the Psychology Department.


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