Dr. O'dell Owens. Photo provided by WCPO

Woodrow Keown Jr., the President and CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, said of Dr. O’dell Owens:

“The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center salutes Dr. O’dell Owens on his retirement.”

“Dr. Owens leaves his imprint on our community in so many important ways, including health care, education, medicine and community activism on behalf of marginalized people. He is a gifted leader who challenged the odds stacked against him and won. Notably, Dr. Owens never forgot his humble beginnings. He tirelessly reached back to help other young people achieve their dreams and became one of the area’s most influential leaders across a variety of socio-economic spectrums.”

Woodrow Keown Jr., President and CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Photo provided

“He provided the keynote address for me at a national youth conference hosted in Cincinnati a few years ago in collaboration with the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio. His message (paraphrased): “Don’t let your circumstances be an excuse for not excelling. Dream big…and work hard to realize your dreams.”

“I wish Dr. Owens and his family a healthy and exciting future in this next phase of his illustrious career. I hope he will now find time for that fishing trip he sough for years.”

Dolores Lindsay, founder and former president/CEO of The Healthcare Connection in Lincoln Heights, worked with Owens on committees addressing education and health issues in underserved communities.

Dolores Lindsay, Founder and former president/CEO of The HealthCare Connection. Photo provided

“His retirement is a big loss to the community,” she said. “His sense of commitment and concern to the broader community, especially the African American community, was needed. He provided a calming voice while at Interact Health during the COVID-19 pandemic. As coroner, he went to the site of murders and spoke to family members and people gathered there. I knew he cared about people, when, during a visit to our clinic on our twenty-fifth anniversary, he spent time visiting with children who were there. I will miss him.”

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said of Dr. O’dell Owens:

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. Photo provided

“Dr. O’dell Owens has been an impeccable steward of positive health outcomes in our community, from helping individuals build families through the establishment of Cincinnati’s first in vitro fertilization program, to helping those families achieve long, prosperous lives through stop smoking campaigns, anti-violence campaigns, and other health initiatives.”

“Dr. Owens has served our city through the experiences of every phase of life, and we are better for it.”

“While I congratulate him as he retires in his official capacity, I am confident his work to support and uplift a healthy Cincinnati continues.”

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