Richard O'Connor

Received from Richard O'Connor 08/29/2019

Bio of Richard O'Connor for The Class of 1959

I was born in Madison, Wisconsin on April 1, 1941. I grew up there, dreaming that I could become a farmer. A long time after that bubble burst, I graduated from Madison West High School. Initially I attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa because of my interest in Medical Electronics; however, when the program was moved to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, I transferred to the University of Wisconsin in Madison. While there, I eventually changed my major from Electrical Engineering to Physics, graduating in January 1964 with an emphasis in Biophysics. I had entered the U of W Medical School in Sept. 1963 under an early acceptance program. I was involved in Radiation Physics research during my early medical school years. After receiving my M.D. degree in June of 1967 from the University of Wisconsin, I completed my Pediatric Internship and Residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, June of 1970. I then completed two years of active military service in the U.S. Army Medical Corp, following which I joined the Wisconsin National Guard for another two years. I attained the rank of Major while serving during the Vietnam era. While on active duty, I became certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

From 1972 through 1986, I was a busy Pediatrician with the Wausau Medical Center, a multispecialty group practice in northern Wisconsin. I was also very involved in the management of the group practice, serving on the board of directors for many years and as chair of the peer review committee. During those same years, I actively participated on the committees and board of a very successful non-gatekeeper IPA-HMO. While in practice, I was promoted to the rank of Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with the University of Wisconsin Medical School. During much of this time, I was the Chair of the Pediatrics Department at Wausau Hospital.

In 1987, I began a medical management career as the lead medical director for Physicians Health Services (PHS) in CT, where I grew the membership from 60,000 to 450,000+ and helped expand into several NY counties, NYC & all of NJ. I also oversaw network expansion from 4,000 to 27,000 physicians, while twice achieving 3-year NCQA accreditation for PHS. In 1995, I became a Diplomat of the American Board of Medical Management. During my career, I made numerous public presentations regarding the managed care industry and multi-specialty group practice. After 10 years with PHS, when it was sold in 1997, I went to work for United Healthcare as a Sr. Medical Director in South Carolina and then in Manhattan. Following the 9/11 disruptions in NYC, my wife and I moved to Savannah, Georgia in 2002 where I started RO'Connor Consulting, Inc., which did business as Med-MgmtConsultants.Com until I closed the business and retired in late 2007. My wife, Sheila, and I resided at 4 Vestry Lane in The Landings for sixteen years. We moved into The Marshes, a nearby retirement community at the end of April, 2018.

Retirement has allowed me to play more tennis and bridge, as well as to go fishing. I have found time to build Wood Duck houses, Owl nests, Brown-headed Nuthatch boxes, and a large Purple Martin house. I was able to travel to San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, where I supervised Univ. of Wisconsin Medical Students providing outreach clinics in villages at 3,500 ft to 8,500 ft elevations. For several years I was involved with the Mediation Center of Savannah, which I considered a wonderful experience. From 2007-2013, I was the President of the Board of Directors of Voice of Children Ministries, Inc., which provided funds for the education and care of needy children in the Igbo states of Nigeria. The charity also brought children to Columbus, Georgia for surgery they required, and which was not available to them in Nigeria. I had occasion to travel to Nigeria with Fr. Chidi Osondu, in order to see firsthand the work that needed to be done, and to interview people there, encouraging them to become board members of Voice of Children International, a Nigerian based NGO that worked directly with these disadvantaged children. I have been an active parishioner at St. James the Less Catholic Church where I was very involved with the three-year Disciples in Mission project, and where I enjoy delivering the parishioners' donations of food and clothing to missions assisting migrant workers when they arrive at Georgia farms in the spring and fall.

My wife, Sheila, and I are ardent travelers. We have really enjoyed our trips to Italy, especially those to Tuscany, where we are going for three weeks this October. We also spend time visiting Sheila's three children, our two grandchildren, and as of this June, our great grandson. I am terribly sorry that the need to replace my defibrillator because of its 8 year old battery conflicted with this year's class reunion.

Richard O'Connor

Email: rocsoc11@bellsouth.net
Phone: (912) 598-2917
Prepared, 8/28/19

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