Jim O’Connell – Raine Medical Research Foundation Visiting Fellow

The School of Population and Global Health (UWA) in conjunction with Homeless Healthcare and Royal Perth Hospital Homeless Team were very pleased to host Dr Jim O’Connell from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) in Perth from the 5-11 November 2018. Dr O’Connell’s visit was supported by the Raine/Forrest Medical Research Foundation as a Visiting Fellow.

During his visit in Perth Dr O’Connell shared his experiences of working in homeless healthcare in Boston. He gave a range of seminars and presentations throughout his stay, culminating in a keynote presentation at the inaugural Forum on Homelessness and Health, attended by over 100 key leaders in the health and housing sectors. Dr O’Connell spoke about the benefits of the medical respite model for people who are homeless and how medical respite centres can provide a stable place to support homeless patients at the end of their hospital admissions. Other presenters included Dr Amanda Stafford from the Royal Perth Hospital Homeless Team and Dr Hannah Seymour from the Sustainable Health Review. The forum was opened by the Honourable Minister Simone McGurk and concluded with a lived experience panel to identify and discuss gaps in the health care system for people experiencing homelessness in Perth. View videos of the presentations, lived experience panel and presenters’ slides.


A recent article published in The Conversation draws on Jim O’Connell’s recent visit to Perth and what we can learn from the US experiences of medical respite centers for people who are homeless. The article also refers to the work Homeless Healthcare and others are doing to get a Medical Recovery Centre established in Perth.

Watch a short video of Dr Jim O’Connell explaining medical recovery centres and how they began

Watch Dr Jim O’Connell talking about initiatives to improve the health of people who are homeless in Perth and why a Medical Recovery Centre is the missing piece