. The Loss of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic Visionary Founder - New Orleans Musicians' Clinic

February 14, 2018

The Loss of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic Visionary Founder

It is with great sadness that the NOMC&AF board and staff announce the loss of our inspirational founder, Dr. Jack McConnell, in Hilton Head, SC. on Feb 8, 2018

Jack B. McConnell, M.D.

(1925-2018)  

 

Dr. McConnell was a noted scientist who, before his retirement, served as corporate director of advanced technology at Johnson & Johnson. Widely acknowledged for his medical contributions, Dr. McConnell directed the development of the TB Tine Test to detect tuberculosis, participated in the early development of the polio vaccine, supervised the discovery of Tylenol, was instrumental in developing MRIs, and helped write enabling legislation to map the genome.  

After his retirement he founded Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) – which currently has 89 member clinics in 28 states providing health care to the uninsured and medically underserved.

Aside from being a brilliant physician and noted philanthropist, Jack was a talented entertainer. His passion for traditional jazz was fostered by his early years stationed in New Orleans with the navy. In 1996, a magic day at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival led to the founding of the Musicians’ Clinic.

 

Founding the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic: It all began at a Phish Concert

 

 
Dr. Jack McConnell and his son Page McConnell of the band Phish
In 1996, his son Page McConnell (Phish) called Jack on stage during their performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and he performed his signature song “Bill Baily, Won’t you Please Come Home?”

 

Although he had performed with the band on multiple occasions, Jack’s performance that day led to the founding of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.

 

 
Dr. Jack McConnell crafted the NOMC with Johann Bultman to create a collaboration with LSU Health Sciences Center, Daughters of Charity, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and WWOZ.
In that performance, on that stage, Jack mused that the birth city of American music must no longer be an early grave for its performers. Soon after, Dr. McConnell enlisted his friend, Sybil Morial, to help familiarize him with the New Orleans music scene. 

 

Months later, with the help of a coalition of local music advocates and medical professionals through the LSU Health Sciences Center, Dr. McConnell set his sights on creating an innovative “safety net” health care resource for the musicians of New Orleans.

 

 

 
Watch Jack’s last (and what he considered his finest) performance with Phish from 2010 in North Charleston, SC.
In 1998, he founded the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic alongside Johann and Bethany Bultman, Robert Marier, M.D., dean of the LSU Medical School and Mervin Trail, Chancellor of LSUHSC. 

Today, New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic has provided health care to more than 2,700 musicians, performers and culture bearers. We are the only clinic like ours in the USA and on May 1, we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary of our vital service to the New Orleans music community.

 

In his memory, we ask that you please keep his spirit alive by following the words Jack’s father passed to him:

 

“What have you done today to uplift another person in need?”

 

Within the next few months, we will be organizing a second line in New Orleans for our beloved Jack and his family as we fulfill his wishes to have his ashes interred in the Musicians Tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2.

 

More Info and Ways to Support: 

Read more about the History and Founding of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic

Make a donation in memory of Dr. Jack McConnell

 

 

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