cohealth pays tribute to the life and work of Dr Chris O’Neill, a much-loved GP and Collingwood community member and leader. cohealth is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr O’Neill on 23 April 2022.
Dr Chris, as he was known to clients, worked at the Collingwood Community Health Centre and then at North Yarra Community Health (which became cohealth) from 1974 until 2010. Dr Chris played a key role both in these cohealth predecessor organisations and in the Collingwood community.
Dr Chris is remembered as a coworker of great charm, vision and commitment to the community. Balancing management and clinical responsibilities he led the health centres through their early development and evolution.
Staunchly committed to community health and social justice Dr Chris was dedicated to ensuring the service was welcoming to all, particularly to people who faced discrimination and marginalisation. His calm, non-judgemental and empowering approach set the standard for the service.
Working from a social model of health, Dr Chris played a pivotal role in developing innovative services, campaigning for public health improvements and supporting the community to express their views on these issues.
A man of immense humanity, kindness and warmth, Dr Chris was the very heartbeat and soul of the health centre, and of the Collingwood community. He was the epitome of selflessness in health care and an extraordinary role model for those who had the good fortune to work alongside him. He was loved by coworkers, patients and the community.
cohealth is grateful for the leadership, compassion and generosity Dr O’Neill provided to the organisation and will continue to work to honour his memory. cohealth sends our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and community who loved the exceptional Dr Chris O’Neill.