Dr. Tamara O’Neal grew up in the small town of La Porte, Indiana. She came from humble beginnings and was the first in her family to become a physician. Her strongest desire was to be an Emergency Physician and give back to her community through mentorship, service, and inspiration. After graduating from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Emergency Medicine residency program, she remained in Chicago to give back to the community and work with residents at Mercy Hospital on the Southside of Chicago. Dr. O’Neal was full of grit and advocated for diversity in medicine as well as the advancement of care for the most underserved patient populations. She touched many lives and was an inspiration for young women from all walks of life. On November 19th, 2018, Dr. O’Neal was shot and killed by her former fiance in the parking lot of the hospital where she worked. This tragedy will forever burn in our hearts as one of our dearest loved ones was taken in this manner. Although Tamara has passed on, her spirit and strength remain amongst all who had the fortune of knowing her. We know Tamara would not want to be remembered by the manner in which she died but in the manner that she lived; giving back to others at every opportunity. She would want us to channel our sorrow to invest it into building on her legacy to quell any future incidences of this tragedy of ever occurring again. She would want to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the thousands of women who are at risk of suffering at the hands of domestic violence who may have voices that are suppressed by fear.
Research shows us that intimate partner violence (domestic violence) kills 50 women each month. This is a statistical fact, but we know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Donations to the Dr. Tamara O’Neal Memorial Research Fund will go toward much-needed studies that address the intersectional issues of gun violence and intimate partner violence, especially as it affects people of color. We will honor her memory by understanding warning signs and developing evidence based methods that can aid effective policy to prevent this from happening again.