SMI Program Collaborations Around the World

The map below depicts most of the cities throughout the world where Street Medicine Institute leaders have engaged in collaborative efforts toward the development and improvement of Street Medicine Programs.  To become a Program Member, click here.

 

IN SOLIDARITY

To the Street Medicine Community

In solidarity with people around the world, the Street Medicine Institute voices its anger at and intolerance of the continued injustices and specific targeting of black Americans.  We abhor the structural racism and implicit biases that perpetuate inequities in health care, criminal justice, education, and economic self-sufficiency.  The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among black Americans and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are recent examples of racism and structural violence against people of color in the United States.  The Street Medicine Institute also grieves and bears witness to the violence, marginalization, and oppression of excluded people throughout the world, some of whom are your rough-sleeping patients.  We want you, especially you who are our black and brown colleagues, to know that we stand beside you with our arms linked in your arms against both the overt acts of violence and the insidious silence that surrounds them.

The Street Medicine Institute commits to the following actions in our fight for equity and justice:

  1. We are listening. Please email us at [email protected] to share ways in which the Street Medicine Institute can improve equity within our organization.
  2. We will convene an advocacy group and seek input from our diverse international membership to develop strategies to meaningfully address structural violence in each of our communities. Please email Liz Frye at [email protected] if you would like to participate or lead this effort.
  3. We commit to educating ourselves and the street medicine community about the racial disparity among the black unsheltered homeless population and equipping organizations and individuals on ways to erase that disparity.

Lastly, we want to remind you of who we are as a community of people who practice street medicine and why each of you bring us hope.  Our collective work in street medicine is defined more by the values and beliefs that guide our daily lives than by the medical care we deliver.  Among the core of these values are inclusivity, solidarity, justice and love.  We practice inclusion medicine; all people - no matter their race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, or any other attribute - are worthy of our care.  We listen and allow our rough-sleeping friends to define our priorities, rather than forcing them to conform to our agenda.  We stand in solidarity with the people we serve, immersing ourselves in their reality.  The harsher their reality becomes, the more we strive to share their burden, letting them know we will walk with them no matter what.  We bear witness to injustices inflicted on them almost daily, challenging their right to exist, reminding them that no place is their own, not even a park bench.  Most importantly, we understand that of all the things we share, a tender love is needed most.

 
In solidarity and with love,

The Street Medicine Institute Board

Brett Feldman, Liz Frye, Amanda Cook, Dave Deci, Pat Perri, Steve Perry, Jim Withers, Henrik Thiesen, Korrinne Yurick, and Irene McFadden

GO TO THE PEOPLE

During the COVID19 pandemic, the Street Medicine Institute’s vision that communities throughout the world are transformed through the delivery of Street Medicine practices designed to meet the unique needs of rough-sleeping persons seems more relevant than ever.  In times of uncertainty, society often overlooks the marginalized in our communities, but street medicine teams around the world are continuing to go to the people and care for rough sleepers where they are. 

As the pandemic began, CNN reconnected with our Founder, Dr. Jim Withers, and other CNN Heroes to see how they are helping their communities during this time.  Jim and his team at Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net continue to go into the streets, screening those who may be at risk and providing tents and other necessities to help them self-isolate if necessary.

On the west coast, Esquire published a piece highlighting the work of SMI Vice Chair, Brett Feldman, who is the Director of Street Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.  Los Angeles has the highest homeless population in the United States with 44,000 people being rough sleepers. Even with shortages of testing equipment, Brett and his team continue to go into the streets to foster their relationships with the homeless and educate them on the protocols of social distancing. 

Our colleague, Harsh Mander, from the Center for Equity Studies in New Dheli, India, has shared videos depicting the overwhelming need in his local community as India addresses the virus. We know that throughout the United States and the world, our members are similarly going to the people. 

Dr. William Toepper, the medical director of Portland Street Medicine (PSM), and his team were featured on The Nation for their continued care for the 4,000 homeless people in Portland.  With their focus being on reducing the spread of COVID19, the PSM volunteers make rounds three days a week and have started handing out survivor kits with socks, snacks, antibiotic ointment, and hand sanitizer.  Please send us your stories at [email protected], and we will attempt to post as many of them as possible.

Responding to requests from our members at the beginning of the pandemic, the SMI Board of Directors, with input from street medicine professionals around the world, prepared and published  STREET MEDICINE PRACTICE during the COVID19 PANDEMIC.  The purpose of these recommendations is to help street medicine teams mitigate the spread, morbidity, and mortality of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within staff and patients while continuing to care for the rough-sleeping homeless. 

Since its inception two years ago, the Street Medicine Institute Student Coalition has grown rapidly, and through the current leadership of Chief Coordinator, Korrinne Yurick, the SMISC helped prepare student-specific guidance which has been incorporated into the STREET MEDICINE PRACTICE during the COVID19 PANDEMIC.  While most schools have closed and are no longer allowing students to go out onto the streets, Korrinne and the student leadership team have been hosting weekly zoom calls for fellow students.  These meetings have allowed them to share their questions and concerns, as well as actively advocate for the rights of the unsheltered. They have also created a Google Drive Folder full of resources and a heartwarming video to their rough sleeper friends, whom they are unable to see during this time.

As we continue to navigate through this pandemic, the Street Medicine Institute is proud to be an advocate for you and those we serve as we all continue to go to the people.