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 Dr. O’dell M. Owens
was honored with the Biennial
Charles P. Taft Civic Gumption Award

on May 24, 2022


Dr. O’dell M. Owens, MD, MPH, a native Cincinnatian, has devoted his entire adult life to making Cincinnati a better home for all, especially for low-income families.  He has strived and succeeded to make a difference for thousands of people. He has accomplished this with energy, imagination, expertise and gumption.

A graduate of Woodward High School and Antioch College, Dr. Owens attended the Yale School of Medicine. At Yale, he received the Irving Friedman Award for Outstanding Chief Resident, and was the
irst African American to receive a Harvard Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology. 


In 1982, he performed Cincinnati’s first in vitro fertilization. He was named one of the nation’s top 15 Black doctors by Black Enterprise Magazine in 1983.

Elected County Coroner from 2004 - 2012, Dr. Owens was the first African American elected to any Hamilton County-wide office. As President of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College from 2010 - 2015,

he significantly increased the number of high school students taking college courses. Dr. Owens has often 

said “the higher the high school graduation rate, the lower the homicide rate.”


Dr. Owens has been an early and long-time advocate for women’s and children’s education and health. He has often said “… the greatest gift you can give a child is the ability to read." He has been Chair and Master of Ceremonies for the WCET Action Auction for the last two decades.


He founded and recently retired as CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Health Collaborative. He has been prominent in advocating vaccinations for the Covid-19 pandemic and was recently appointed a volunteer Deputy Sheriff for his  work to decrease the spread of Covid-19 in the Hamilton County Jail. 


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