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Tim O'Connell

The Best Four Years of My Life

By Nan Johnson

Tim O’Connell, M’82, took some twists and turns along his career path, but there’s one thing he’s absolutely sure of: his training at the School of Medicine helped make it all possible. “Those were the best four years of my life,” he said.

Today, he’s making plans to help future doctors through an unrestricted $200,000 bequest to his alma mater through his estate. In doing so, he’s now a member of the MCV Society. O’Connell also makes gifts to the School of Medicine’s Annual Fund in support of scholarships and hopes to become more involved in alumni activities and fundraising.

A Manhattan native, O’Connell grew up in the city as well as in Amityville, Long Island. After earning a B.S. in biology from the University of New York at Albany, a neighbor’s father guided him to the MCV Campus because of its innovative curriculum.

“I had worked in a hospital as an orderly in the cardiac care unit, so I went to MCV with the intention of becoming a cardiologist,” O’Connell said. “But when it came time to choose a specialty, I was unsure and entered family practice. During my internship I discovered that my passion was obstetrics. Doing three to five deliveries a night was a thrilling experience. I never dreamed of becoming an OBGYN, but it’s been a wonderful experience.”

“I would encourage other students in my class to reflect back upon the opportunities we had and the benefits we derived from medical school," said the Class of 1982's Tim O'Connell. "Now we’re on the other side, on the tail end of our careers, so it’s time to prepare new doctors. I’d love to see physicians in my class get involved and see what they can do to give something back.”


Contact Associate Dean Tom Holland at (800) 332-8813 or teholland@vcu.edu to learn more about how you can join the MCV Society by making provisions for the medical school in your estate plans via a:

Charitable Bequest A gift made through your will allows you to leave a specific dollar amount or a percentage of your estate. Through a bequest, you can reduce federal estate taxes without depleting current assets.

Charitable Remainder Trust These and other life-income gifts provide a charitable income tax deduction and an income for life at a higher rate of return than many current investments.

Insurance Policy Provision may be given outright or may be used to fund a life income arrangement.

Gift Annuity allow you to transfer assets to the MCV Foundation and, in return, receive regular fixed payments for life. 

Learn more about planned giving »

He gave up obstetrics in 2005 to spend more time with his three children and to focus on his gynecology practice at the Center for Women’s Health in Newport News, Va. But then his career took another turn.

“I learned about Suboxone used to treat patients addicted to pain pills and heroin. At the time, I had two patients with addictions and there were no resources to help them, so I trained in order to prescribe it,” he said. His intentions were to help his own patients, but when word quickly spread about his being a provider of Suboxone, he set up another office to treat others. Later, he became board certified in addiction medicine and expanded his new specialty by opening an addiction treatment center.

“About a year ago I realized there was a true need in my community to provide treatment, dignity and respect for patients with addictions. A career shift like this is a very unusual thing to happen to a physician,” O’Connell explains. “I’m now treating patients in all stages of life. Addiction doesn’t discriminate; it affects all members of society. And I get the same satisfaction as delivering babies!”



This article by Nan Johnson first appeared in the 2013 fall issue of Gifts at Work.

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