Dr. O’Dell Owens, longtime Cincinnati health leader, dies at age 74

Longtime Cincinnati health leader Dr. O’Dell Moreno Owens died Wednesday. He was 74 years old. He was only two weeks away from his 75th birthday. Owens is remembered by many as a pioneer and community legend. He made public service his career. Among the many prominent positions he held over the years, he served as Hamilton County Coroner, President of the State of Cincinnati, and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Department of Health. Owens was a pioneer in medicine. He founded the University of Cincinnati’s in vitro fertilization program and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful insemination and delivery, as well as the first pregnancy from a frozen embryo. Owens graduated from Woodward High School. Proving some of her teachers wrong, she entered graduate college, earned a master’s degree from Yale University, and completed a reproductive endocrinology fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Owens told WLWT in 2021, “In ninth grade, I was kicked out of Walnut Hills by a college counselor after being told I was too poor and too dumb to go to college.” One you must forgive.” Cincinnati City Manager Sherrill Long ordered all flags flown at half-mast in memory of Owens. Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Purewal tweeted the following in response to today’s sad news. Owens Chairman and CEO Interact for Health for more than four years before retiring. The organization released a statement about Owens’ passing Wednesday afternoon. “The staff and board of Interact for Health, our former president And we are deeply saddened by the death of CEO Dr. O’Dell Owens. We extend our condolences to his wife, Marshall, and children, Christopher, Justin and Morgan. Dr. Owens cared for our community from cradle to grave. He was a pioneer, a leader, a friend and a mentor to many. During four and a half years at Conversations for Health, Dr. Owens worked to improve access to health care through school-based health centers, reduce tobacco use, address the opioid epidemic, and improve health in the region. Improving equity. His contribution to the Foundation was part of a long career working to improve health in Greater Cincinnati. He will be greatly missed, and his legacy will continue to inspire work for years to come. Icon aiming to be an agent of social change through med and education. (You can watch that conversation in the video player below.) Owens told Curtis Fuller during that conversation, “I’ve worked in the community yet I always wonder if I’ve done enough. Have I done enough?” done enough? So it just came to a point. That I said ‘Yeah, you have. And it’s time to take care of O’Dell.’ Heard of the sudden passing of Dr. Odell Owens. During his 5 plus years as coroner he has worked to positively impact the lives of youth by encouraging them to stay in school, pursue higher education and make good social choices continued his life’s mission. His legacy within the Cincinnati community is without question, and his impact will continue. Much to this world, his lifetime mission was to make a difference. He certainly did. He touched many lives Touched, Papa your legacy will live on. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.” Sen. Rob Portman (R) wrote on Twitter: “Jane and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our good friend Dr. O’Dell Owens. O’Dell was a stalwart in the Cincinnati health care community and will be greatly missed Will go.” Owens retires in 2021. This is a developing story and will be updated.

Longtime Cincinnati health leader Dr. O’Dell Moreno Owens died Wednesday. He was 74 years old.

He was only two weeks away from his 75th birthday.

Owens is remembered by many as a pioneer and community legend. He made public service his career. Among the many prominent positions he held over the years, he served as Hamilton County Coroner, President of the State of Cincinnati, and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Department of Health.

Owens was a pioneer in medicine. He founded the University of Cincinnati’s in vitro fertilization program and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful insemination and delivery, as well as the first pregnancy from a frozen embryo.

Owens graduated from Woodward High School. Proving some of her teachers wrong, she entered graduate college, earned a master’s degree from Yale University, and completed a reproductive endocrinology fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

Owens told WLWT in 2021, “In ninth grade, I was kicked out of Walnut Hills by a college counselor after being told I was too poor and too dumb to go to college.” Somebody should write you.”

Cincinnati City Manager Sherrill Long ordered all flags flown at half-mast in memory of Owens.

This content has been imported from Twitter. You might be able to find the same content in another format, or you might be able to find more information on their web site.

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Purewal tweeted the following in response to today’s sad news.

This content has been imported from Twitter. You might be able to find the same content in another format, or you might be able to find more information on their web site.

Owens also served as President and CEO of Interact for Health for more than four years before retiring.

The organization released a statement about Owens’ passing on Wednesday afternoon.

β€œThe staff and board of Interactions for Health are deeply saddened by the death of Dr. O’Dell Owens, our former President and CEO. We extend our condolences to his wife, Marshall, and children, Christopher, Justin and Morgan.

Dr. Owens cared for our community from cradle to grave. He was a torchbearer, a leader, a friend and a guide to many. During her four and a half years at Interactions for Health, Dr. Owens has worked to improve access to health care through school-based health centers, reduce tobacco use, address the opioid epidemic, and improve health equity in the region worked to. His contributions to the Foundation for the Improvement of Health in Greater Cincinnati were part of a long career. He will be greatly missed and his legacy will continue to inspire work for many years to come.”

In August last year, a mural of Dr Owens was dedicated at the CET building in the West End.

In March, WLWT sat down with Owens for an episode of Let’s Talk Cincy to discuss Owens’ goal of being an agent of social change through medicine and education.

(You can watch that conversation in the video player below.)


Owens told Curtis Fuller during that conversation, “I’ve worked in the community yet I always wonder if I’ve done enough. Have I done enough? Take care of O’Dell.”

He retires in 2021.

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office released a statement regarding Dr. Owen’s passing, saying, ,We are truly saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Dr. Odell Owens. During his 5-plus years as coroner, he continued his life’s mission to positively impact the lives of young people by encouraging them to stay in school, pursue higher education, and make good social choices. His legacy within the Cincinnati community is without question, and his influence will continue.”

This content has been imported from Twitter. You might be able to find the same content in another format, or you might be able to find more information on their web site.

Owens’ daughter Morgan shared the following statement with WLWT’s Courtice Fuller, “My dad was everything. My family and I are at a loss. My dad gave so much to this world, his life-long mission was to make a difference. He certainly did. He touched a lot of lives, Dad.” Your legacy will live on.” Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R) wrote on Twitter: “Jane and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our good friend Dr. O’Dell Owens. O’Dell was a legend in the Cincinnati health care community and will be missed. Excessive.”

Owens retires in 2021.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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