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Carrying on the O'Donnell Legacy

Dr. Joe O'Donnell (second from left) has been a champion for student wellness and teaching compassion in medicine.

By Jennifer Durgin

Promoting wellness, compassion, and service among medical students at Dartmouth has been Dr. Joseph O'Donnell's life's work. A 1971 alumnus of the medical school, O'Donnell is retiring after 43 years of teaching, mentoring, and inspiring students. Now, a fund named in his honor will provide enduring support for the kinds of student programs that O'Donnell nurtured.

Leading the fundraising effort are alumni grateful for the inspiration and encouragement they received from O'Donnell when they were students.

"Joe has a style that is steadfast, compassionate, and empathetic," recalls Dr. Ndidi Onwubalili MED '04, who has made a gift to the Joseph O'Donnell, MD, '71, Fund for Students. "He taught me why it's important to remember that your patient's perspective is different and should be an opportunity for personal growth and engagement. He knows that doctoring is more than accumulation of data—it is also about a personal connection."

"Joe O'Donnell stands shoulder to shoulder with Dartmouth Medical School teaching icons such as Art Naitove and Bill Mosenthal," adds Dr. Jim Hartford MED '89, who has also given generously to the fund. "His care and compassion for patients as well as students remain unsurpassed, leading as an example for generations to come."


Donations still needed

Fundraising for the Joseph O'Donnell, MD, '71, Fund for Students is ongoing. The fund is designed to provide support for Geisel student projects and initiatives focused on the following:

  • Embedding compassion in the profession of medicine,
  • Nurturing citizenship and community engagement through experiential learning, and
  • Promoting mental, physical, and academic wellness among students.

Examples of the types of programs that may be supported by the fund include Patient Partners, which pairs first- and second-year medical students with patients; free community health clinics run by Geisel students and faculty; and direct assistance for students needing mental health care.

To learn more, contact Sara Lang at (603) 653-0715 or Sara.M.Lang@Dartmouth.edu. Or make a gift online at www.GeiselAlumni.org/odonnell.

As with other endowments, the terms of the fund include provisions for alternate uses to address unforeseen changes in circumstances. Gift additions will be subject to the terms in place now, and any future revision.


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