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Christopher O'Donnell - Health and Medicine Reporter

Health and Medicine Reporter

I’m a political junkie and I love literature so this job fits like a glove. But journalism wasn’t my first career. I was born and grew up in England and programmed computers for a living. I switched to reporting when I moved to Florida in 2001. I got my first break at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune after earning a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. I joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2016 after a three-year stint at the Tampa Tribune, where I covered city halls on both sides of Tampa Bay. When I’m not shouting at cable news, I love watching real football from England (alright, soccer) and riding my road bike on trails.

  1. Jahnitza Debbs, 22, has her vitals checked by Tiffany Vasey, a nurse practitioner with TeamHealth, before receiving a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 at Tampa General Hospital’s Global Emerging Diseases Institute on July 22.
  2. In this March 27, 2020 photo, William Samuels delivers caskets to the Gerard Neufeld Funeral Home during the coronavirus pandemic in the Queens borough of New York. A report by the National Center for Health Statistics released Wednesday found that average life expectancy in the United States dropped a staggering 1.5 years during 2020, a year when the coronavirus claimed more than 377,000 lives.
  3. A pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP pill is more than 90 percent effective in preventing HIV. But only 8 percent of Floridians at risk of HIV take the daily medication.
  4. RN Corey Price prepares a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Greyound Spoke vaccination site at the Larry Sanders Sports Complex in Tampa.
  5. Melissa Loven, Qi Crystal Energy shop owner, (left)  and Crea Egan (right) prepare the store ahead of tropical storm Elsa Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
  6. Orlando Health officials are touting lower infection rates and patient readmission rates at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg as evidence that the changes they have enacted since buying the hospital in October are working.
  7. K. Alicia Schulhof will take over as the new president of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on July 26.
  8. COVID-19 vaccines and testing have been offered to Manatee County government staff after an outbreak spread to a sixth employee at the downtown administration building.
  9. Eric Rhanes, 35, who has been homeless for about a month, receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Tampa on Thursday thanks to the nonprofit Heart for the Homeless.
  10. A sign on the door of Sans Market, a zero-waste lifestyle store in St. Petersburg. The store is one of a handful still mandating customers mask up to shop.
  11. An architectural rendering of the proposed Bayfront Health St. Petersburg to build a “free-standing” emergency departments — they’re called that because they are not attached to traditional hospitals — at 1800 66th St. N. The four-story facility will include a 14,000 square-foot emergency room on the ground floor and space for future medical offices. It is scheduled to open in January 2023.
  12. Travel nurses Jennifer Evans, of Bradenton, left, and Alexandra Chang, of Tampa, pose for a portrait in Tampa. After working the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in hospitals in New York, Evans and Chang joined a group of nurses making efforts to travel to Nepal and India to help hospitals overburdened with a coronavirus outbreak there.
  13. Gerard Duignan, de 51 años, de Odessa, a la derecha, y Josie Rahn, de 29, de Tampa, miran un mural pintado en una de las habitaciones de una cabaña renovada en el campus de Joshua House el viernes 21 de mayo de 2021 en Lutz. El campus de 11 acres en Lutz se cerró el año pasado después de que el propietario Children's Home Society of Florida planeara vender la propiedad. Simpatizantes y donantes llevaron a cabo una campaña para comprar el lugar. Al final recaudaron $ 2.65 millones.
  14. Gerard Duignan, 51, of Odessa, right, and Josie Rahn, 29, of Tampa look at a mural painted in one of the rooms of a renovated cottage on the Joshua House campus Friday, May 21, 2021 in Lutz. The 11-acre campus in Lutz was closed last year after owner Children's Home Society of Florida planned to sell the campus. But supporters and donors raised more than $3 million to buy and restore the home.
  15. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor waves as she exits the polls after she cast her ballot in person during early voting at Amalie Arena, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 in Tampa. On right is Castor's partner Ana Cruz. Also present was Castor's son Seely Bevan. After talking with reporters, Castor took photos with the Stanley Cup, won by the Tampa Bay Lightning, that was on site at Thunder Alley for people to see.
  16. Alan Abramowitz has resigned as executive director of Florida's Guardian Ad Litem program.
  17. A drone image shows a partially drained wastewater reservoir at Piney Point, with Tampa Bay visible in the distance.
  18. This aerial photo taken from an airplane shows a reservoir near the old Piney Point phosphate mine, Saturday, April 3, 2021 in Bradenton, Fla. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday after a significant leak at a large pond of wastewater threatened to flood roads and burst a system that stores polluted waters. The pond where the leak was discovered is at the old Piney Point phosphate mine, sitting in a stack of phosphogypsum, a waste product from manufacturing fertilizer that is radioactive. (Tiffany Tompkins/The Bradenton Herald via AP)
  19. Feeding Tampa Bay volunteers (Left to right) Jessica Mallory, 17, Marianny Moreta, 17, and Ivanna Ferreras, 18, help load cars with food on the University of South Florida Tampa campus Monday. 
One year into the pandemic , the nonprofit is still stretched trying to meet the need of hungry Tampa Bay families. It recently held its 300th mega pantry, where lines for boxes of groceries still stretch around the block.
  20. More than 300 families were relocated from Tampa Park Apartments ahead of its sale to Ybor City developer Darryl Shaw, who put up more than $800,000 to help residents pay moving costs and expenses. The housing complex was one of the last places close to downtown Tampa with rents low enough for low-income families, seniors and people on disability benefits.
  21. The bungalows of Jordan Park ,the remaining original section of St. Petersburg's first Black housing complex, will be demolished by the St. Petersburg Housing Authority as part of a $72 million redevelopment . Pinellas County commissioners on Tuesday approved moving ahead with a $38.8 million bond issue to help finance the project.
  22. Just yards from The Tempo at Encore apartment building, Zach Oak, 30, harvests carrots at Meacham Urban Farm. The farm opens to the public on Feb. 13.
  23. Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell listens to Gov. Ron DeSantis during a roundtable discussion regarding mental health at the downtown Tampa Firefighter Museum in December. DeSantis announced Friday that Poppell has resigned. He will be replaced by Shevaun Harris, who had served as acting secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration since October.