Coroner’s office renamed to honor Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens

Hamilton County Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas presented a resolution to rename the Hamilton County Coroner's Office in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. O'dell Moreno Owens, a Black Surgeon who went on to become a renowned educator, physician, and community leader. The post Coroner’s office renamed to honor Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens appeared first on The Cincinnati Herald .

Coroner’s office renamed to honor Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens

On Dec. 8, 2022, Stephanie Summerow Dumas, then President of Hamilton County Commission presented a resolution to forever honor the life, impact, legacy, and biography of Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens who had recently passed away by naming the Hamilton County Coroner’s office in his honor.

With unanimous support from then Commission Vice President Alicia Reece, and Commissioner Denise Driehaus, Hamilton County Coroner’s Office was officially renamed Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens Coroner’s Office.

Hamilton County Commissioners dedicate the renaming of the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office Monday, June 24, at 4477 Carver Woods Dr., Blue Ash, Ohio, in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens. 

The renaming of the office is about much more than the naming of a building.  

From his birth in the West End of Cincinnati on Dec. 7, 1947, the life journey of O’dell Moreno Owens was familiarized with difficulties and trauma many young men are unable to escape.   

O’dell’s mother passed away when he was young leaving him and his six siblings with their father who struggled with drinking and gambling.

O’dell failed to maintain minimum requirements at Walnut Hills High School due to difficulties at home and transferred to Woodward High School.

He worked for a Black Surgeon, Dr. Clinton Buford and his wife who eventually took him in and encouraged him to pursue education and go to college.     

Dr. Owens earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Antioch College, studying his third year as an exchange student at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. He went on to earn his Master’s in Public Health and M.D. Degrees from Yale University Medical School

In 1976, after his first year of residency at Yale, he married Marchelle K. Hall, of Richmond, Indiana. Through this union, three children were born: Christopher, Justin and Morgan. Dr. Owens was a great husband, father, brother and friend.

Dr. Owens completed his internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale, and was awarded the Irving Friedman Award as the Outstanding Chief Resident in the department of OB/GYN.

He accepted a combined position at Harvard Medical School, serving as a Clinical Instructor in the department of OB/GYN and was a Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

Dr. Owens returned to 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 time at University of Cincinnati Medical School, Dr. Owens established an in vitro fertilization program and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful conception and delivery. In November 1988, he announced Cincinnati’s first pregnancy from a frozen embryo.

He was honored to give the welcome speech to University of Cincinnati medical students for 29 consecutive years.

Dr. Owens left his medical practice in 2004, to serve as Medical Director for a major insurance company and helped launch a Cincinnati-based nonprofit organization devoted to early childhood education.

Also in 2004, Dr. Owens was elected Hamilton County Coroner, becoming the first African American to ever serve in this position. He was reelected Coroner in 2008 setting a record at that time for receiving the most votes of any countywide candidate in the history of Hamilton County.

Dr. Owens lead a community-oriented coroner’s office. He would go to the scene of homicides and share information with youth regarding avoiding tragic, life ending situations and getting on track to live productive lives.

He gave thousands of speeches to students, educators, churches, and nonprofits, promoting “The Higher the Education Rate, the Lower the Homicide Rate.”

Dr. Owens became the fifth president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College serving from August 2010 until October 2015.

He then served as the Medical Director and Interim Health Commissioner for the City of Cincinnati. In October of 2016, he was named President and CEO of Interact for Health, serving from October 2016, until his retirement, March 2021.

Dr. Owens served as a member of many boards including the longest serving board member of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Cincinnati Fire Foundation, U.S. Bank, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, the Cincinnati Health Department, Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams), the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent’s Community Advisory Board, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Red Cross, and the Fine Arts Board. He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of RISE Learning Solutions Inc., a national nonprofit organization that uses technology to bring world-class training to adults who care for preschool aged children.

The Bicentennial Commission honored Dr. Owens as one of the Bicentennial’s 200 Greater Cincinnatians in recognition of his community service. Black Enterprise Magazine selected Dr. Owens as one of the top 15 Black doctors in America.

He was named an Honorary Kentucky Colonel and an Ohio Commodore. He 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.

On Nov. 23, 2022, the awe-inspiring work of Dr. Owens, which touched thousands of lives, in Hamilton County, across the nation and parts of the world came to a sudden and unexpected end.

However, the name, life and legacy of Dr. Owens, from being born in poverty in Hamilton County experiencing extreme traumatic situations many would not escape, to becoming one of the top 15 Black doctors in America, and first elected African American Coroner in Hamilton County, Ohio is remembered, honored, and forever commemorated.

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