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Nationally Recognized Physician and Speaker Shares Best Practices for Supporting those Experiencing Homelessness

February 02, 2024

More than 800 adults in Baton Rouge are currently unhoused, living on the streets and in shelters. Providing quality medical care to this population can be extremely challenging because they are often seen as “treatment resistant.”

James O’Connell, MD, president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, is nationally recognized for his compassionate approach to addressing the medical needs of the homeless. “Doctor Jim,” as his patients call him, brings his 35 years of experience to give our medical community new insights on how to most effectively address the medical needs of these patients.

Members of the community are invited to attend a continental breakfast followed by “Sheltering Hope: A Compassionate Exploration of Homelessness” at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at the Marriott located at 5500 Hilton Ave. in Baton Rouge. Registration is required. Click here to register. There is no cost to attend.

Dr. O’Connell will give an additional presentation for physicians and other health professionals the evening before on Tuesday, March 5, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by “Continuity within Chaos: Caring for Individuals Living Chronically in Shelters and on the Streets” at 6:30 p.m. Those healthcare professionals wishing to attend this timely and important event may register by emailing There is no cost for this presentation, which will also be held at the Marriott.

Sponsors for both events are: Diamond Level - Healthy Blue; Gold Level - Our Lady of the Lake Health, Woman’s Hospital, Acadian Ambulance, First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge; Silver Level - AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana; Bronze Level - Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Baton Rouge General, and Baton Rouge Health District.

Dr James OConnell tending to the homeless

Top photo credit: Unknown Photographer
Bottom photo credit: Steven Gardner

About Our Lady of the Lake Health

Our Lady of the Lake Health is a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare ministry based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with more than 7,500 employees committed to serving the Capital Region and building a healthy community through excellence in patient care and education. With an 800-bed Regional Medical Center, a dedicated Children’s Hospital, a 78-bed hospital in Gonzales, Louisiana, two freestanding emergency rooms in outlying parishes, and a 600+ provider Physician Group, Our Lady of the Lake Health provides comprehensive healthcare services for common to complex conditions. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is a primary teaching site for graduate medical education programs in partnership with LSU, and is recognized in the areas of heart and vascular, trauma and emergency care, stroke, cancer care, minimally invasive procedures, and more. Our Lady of the Lake is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and is driven by its mission to serve all God’s people, especially those most in need. For more information, visit

About the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is one of the largest healthcare systems based in Louisiana and is the leading healthcare provider for more than half the state’s population. The health system is a non-profit, Catholic organization sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the ministry serves patients in Louisiana and Mississippi through a network of hospitals, clinics, physicians and integrated health systems. The health system’s unified physician organization is comprised of more than 1,100 adult and pediatric primary care physicians and specialists. The system’s nine main campus hospitals include St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and Gonzales, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Heart Hospital, and Women's & Children's Hospital in Lafayette, Our Lady of the Angels in Bogalusa, and St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Chrislyn Maher
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications
Our Lady of the Lake Health



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