Dr. Jack McConnell fell in love with traditional jazz during two stints working as a doctor headquartered in New Orleans. After suffering two bouts with tuberculosis following his medical training, Dr. McConnell chose to go into research. He went on to become a noted scientist widely known for his medical contributions who, before his retirement, served as corporate director of advanced technology at Johnson & Johnson.
It was at Lederle Laboratories that he co-invented the tine test, used for the detection of tuberculosis, and participated in the early stages of the development of the polio vaccine. He then joined McNeil Laboratories where he directed the development of Tylenol tablets. Subsequently, he moved to the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson as Corporate Director for Advanced Technology. In this capacity, he traveled the world in search of new healthcare products and technology. During his time at Johnson & Johnson he directed the program for the first commercial MRI system in the United States.
In 1987, Dr. McConnell helped Sen. Pete Domenici write the bill authorizing the Human Genome Project. He also worked closely with J. Craig Venter and the Institute for Genomic Research on the business and ethical issues associated with genomic study.
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 raconteur and performer.
In 1996, a magic day at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival led to the founding of the Musicians’ Clinic.