Dr. Odell Owens, longtime Cincinnati health leader, dies at 74

Dr. Odell Moreno Owens, Cincinnati’s longtime health leader, died Wednesday. He was 74 years old. He was just two weeks shy of his 75th birthday, and many remember Owens as a pioneer and social giant. He worked in the public service. Among his many notable positions over the years have been the Hamilton County Coroner, Chief of State of Cincinnati and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Department of Health, Owens was a pioneer in medicine. He established the University of Cincinnati’s In Vitro Fertilization Program and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful pregnancy and delivery, as well as its first frozen-embryo pregnancy. Owens graduated from Woodward High School. Proving some of his professors wrong, he went on to graduate college, earning a master’s degree from Yale University and completing a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. “In the ninth grade, a college counselor told me after I failed Walnut Hills that I was too poor and stupid to go to college,” Owens told WLWT in 2021. “Nobody should put you in a box. No. I ordered Cincinnati City Manager Cheryl Long to take down All flags to half-staff in memory of Owens. Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval tweeted the following in response to today’s tragic news. 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’ death Wednesday afternoon. “The staff and Board of Interact for Health are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Odell Owens, our former President and CEO. Our condolences go out to his wife, Marshall, and children, Christopher, Justin, and Morgan. Dr. Owens has taken care of our community from cradle to grave. He was a pioneer, leader, friend and mentor to many. During his four and a half years at Interact for Health, Dr. Owens has worked to improve access to health care across school-based health centers, reduce tobacco use, address the opioid epidemic and improve health equity in the area. His contributions to the Foundation were part of a long career to improve health in greater Cincinnati. He will be sorely missed, and his legacy will continue to inspire work for years to come. In August of last year, a mural was dedicated to Dr. Owens in the CET building in the West End. In March, WLWT sat down with Owens on an episode of Let’s Talk Cincy to discuss Owens’ goal of being an agent of social change through ice meds and education. ( You can watch that conversation in the video player below.) During that conversation, Owens told Curtis Fuller, “I’ve worked in the community, but I’ve always wondered if I’ve done enough. Have you done enough? So it got to a certain point that I said, “Yeah, you do. And it’s time to take care of Odile.” He retired in 2021. The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office released a statement about Dr. Owen’s death saying, “We are truly saddened to hear about the sudden death of Dr. Odell Owens.” During his more than 5 years as a forensic pathologist, he has 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. The legacy of the Cincinnati community is unquestionable, and his influence will continue to be. Owens’ daughter, Morgan, shared the following statement with WLWT’s Curtis Fuller, “My dad was my everything.” My family and I are at a loss. My father gave so much for this world, his life long mission was to make a difference. He sure did. He touched the lives of many, Dad will live on your legacy. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.” Senator Rob Portman (R) wrote on Twitter: “Jane and I are saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend Dr. Odell Owens. Odell was a giant in the Cincinnati healthcare community, and he will be sorely missed. Owens retiring in 2021, this is a developing story and will be updated.

Dr. Odell Moreno Owens, Cincinnati’s longtime health leader, died Wednesday. He was 74 years old.

He was just two weeks shy of his seventy-fifth birthday.

Many remember Owens as a pioneer and social giant. He worked in the public service. Among the many notable positions he has held over the years, he has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Chief of State of Cincinnati and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Department of Health.

Owens was a pioneer in medicine. He established the University of Cincinnati’s In Vitro Fertilization Program and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful pregnancy and delivery, as well as the first pregnancy from a frozen embryo.

Owens graduated from Woodward High School. Proving some of his professors wrong, he went on to graduate college, earning a master’s degree from Yale University and completing a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School.

Owens told WLWT in 2021: “In ninth grade, a college counselor told me after I failed Walnut Hills that I was too poor and stupid to go to college. No one should put you in a box. No. One should write you off.” .

Cincinnati City Manager Cheryl Long ordered all flags lowered at half-staff in Owens’ memory.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval tweeted the following in response to today’s tragic news.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

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’ death Wednesday afternoon.

“The staff and Board of Interact for Health are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Odell Owens, our former President and CEO. We offer our condolences to his wife, Marshall, and children, Christopher, Justin, and Morgan.

Dr. Owens has looked after our community from cradle to grave. He was a pioneer, leader, friend and mentor to many. During his four and a half years at Interact for Health, Dr. Owens has worked to improve access to health care through school health centers, reduce tobacco use, address the opioid epidemic and improve health equity in the area. His contributions to the Foundation were part of a long career to improve health in greater Cincinnati. He will be sorely missed and his legacy will continue to inspire action for years to come.”

In August last year, A mural is dedicated to Dr. Owens CET Building in the West End.

In March, WLWT sat down with Owens on 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.)


During that conversation, Owens told Curtis Fuller, “I worked in the community, but I always wondered did I do enough. Did I do enough? So it got to a point where I said ‘Yeah, it’s time for that.'” Take care of Odell.”

Retired in 2021.

The Coroner’s Office in Hamilton County released a statement about Dr. Owen’s death saying, We are truly saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Dr. Odell Owens. During his more than 5 years as a coroner, he has 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 beyond doubt, and his influence will continue.”

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Owens’ daughter, Morgan, shared the following statement with WLWT’s Curtis Fuller, “My dad was everything. My family and I are in awe. My dad did so much for this world, and it was his lifelong mission to make a difference. He certainly did. He touched so many lives. My dad will live on your legacy. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.” “.

Senator Rob Portman (R) wrote on Twitter: “Jane and I are saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend Dr. Odell Owens. Odell was a giant in the Cincinnati healthcare community and will be missed tremendously.”

Owens retired in 2021.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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