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Dr. O'dell Owens, MD, MPH

Dr. OwensDr. O’dell Moreno Owens is a native Cincinnatian. Following graduation from Woodward High School, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Antioch College. Dr. Owens spent his third year of college at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, as a foreign exchange student.

Dr. Owens attended Yale University Medical School where he earned his M.D. degree. In his spare time as a medical student he served as president of his medical school class, captain of the medical school basketball team, a member of the Board of Trustees of Antioch College. He earned a masters degree in public health from Yale University, and continued his studies at Yale as an intern, resident and chief resident in obstetrics and gynecology. He was awarded the Irving Friedman Award as the Outstanding Chief Resident in the department of OB/GYN at Yale Medical School.

Dr. Owens then accepted a combined position at Harvard Medical School. He served as a clinical instructor in the department of OB/GYN at Harvard Medical School, and was a Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility for two years.

He returned to his native Cincinnati in 1982 to establish the first division of reproductive endocrinology in the department of OB/GYN at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. During his four years that he served in the medical school, he established an in-vitro fertilization program and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful conception and delivery. In November 1988, Dr. Owens announced Cincinnati’s first pregnancy from a frozen embryo.

Another of Dr. Owens’ research interests is laser surgery. In 1987, at the request of the Chinese Medical Society Dr. Owens was asked to participate in an international symposium and lecture series on laser surgery in China. In July 1990, Dr. Owens was asked by the American Laser Society to join a group of physicians to tour the laser facilities in four major cities in the Soviet Union. In 1992, Dr. Owens was selected by the American Jewish Committee to visit Israel as part of a national group of African-Americans to evaluate the Israeli/Arab conflict firsthand.

In 2004, Dr. Owens was elected as Hamilton County’s Coroner, and was re-elected in 2008.

His community and education involvement includes the following:

  • He currently holds the position of President for Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams), a collaborative of the Cincinnati Public Schools system.
  • He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of RISE Learning Solutions, Inc., a national non-profit organization that uses technology to bring world-class training to adults who care for pre-school aged children. (Project GRAD and RISE are both initiatives of KnowledgeWorks Foundation.)
  • Previously, Dr. Owens was Senior Medical Director of United Healthcare of Ohio.
  • He is currently a member of the board of directors for US Bank, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport.
  • He is the former chairman of the Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Advisory Committee, the Cincinnati Board of Health and University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees.
  • He is actively involved in the Cincinnati community working with disadvantaged youth to motivate them to reach their full potential, and in that role has made frequent television appearances.
  • In 2008 he was elected president of the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.

During the bicentennial year, the Bicentennial Commission honored Dr. Owens as one of the Bicentennial’s 200 Greater Cincinnatians in recognition of his community service. In October 1988, Black Enterprise Magazine selected Dr. Owens as one of the top 15 black doctors in America. Dr. Owens has been appointed an Honorary Kentucky Colonel. He also has been honored with the Tree of Life Award by the Jewish National Fund, the Lincoln Award from the Northern Kentucky University, three Honorary Ph.D.’s, and was the youngest person inducted into the Ohio Independent College Hall of Excellence. Dr. Owens says he would like his epitaph to read, “He made a difference.”

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