Long interested in medical education, student success, and improving lives, Joe O’Donnell, MD, is passionate about connecting students with service-learning opportunities, particularly with underserved patient populations. An outspoken advocate for using literature and the arts as a means toward incorporating humanistic values into medical education, he also believes these values contribute much to the health and welfare of students.
After graduating from Harvard, O’Donnell attended what was then a two-year medical program at Dartmouth before finishing his medical education at Harvard Medical School in 1973. Since 1978, he has been chief of medical oncology at the White River Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine. O’Donnell is also the senior advising dean of student services and community programs.
O’Donnell has long turned to the humanities to help teach medical students about providing compassionate care. For him, carefully listening to a patient’s personal story is as important as understanding the person’s illness and alleviating pain.
In these 32 Hours stories, O’Donnell talks about teaching compassionate care to medical students, and how the Dartmouth experiencebonds the community together in a timeless connection. He also discusses how he employs his deep listening skillswhen caring for veterans at the White River Junction VA Medical Center.