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Gratitude

Marisa CharleyMy name is Marisa Charley, and I work and teach in the Shepherd Program for Poverty and Inequalities Studies at a university in Lexington, VA. Our mission is to understand and address the causes and consequences of poverty and inequalities in ways that respect the dignity of every person.

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Guest Post: A Reflection on Dr. Nigel Hewett’s Retirement

Nigel HewettDr. Nigel Hewett retired this summer after 12 years as the founding medical director of Pathway. He was also the founding Secretary and the driving force behind the development of the UK Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, which we launched in 2011. I first met Nigel when Pathway’s founder, Professor Aidan Halligan, invited me to see a new specialist homeless service at University College Hospital in London (I didn’t realize at the time but Aidan was also checking me out as a potential CEO, for an organization that didn’t yet exist). Nigel was there following a similar experience.

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Guest Post: Tribute to Dr. Nigel Hewett

Nigel HewittTribute to Dr. Nigel Hewett by Andrew Hayward, Director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care and Co-Director of the UCL Collaborative Centre for Inclusion Health and colleagues at CCIH 

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A Message from 2023 SMISC Chief Coordinator

Stephen Venable

Dear Street Medicine Family, 
 
As the year prepares for its end, we would like to take a moment to thank the Street Medicine Institute Student Coalition Board of 2021/2022 for all their hard work and dedication. This includes our outgoing Chief Coordinator, Sophie Roe, who has been an exemplar of leadership, dedication, and kindness throughout the last year. During her time leading SMISC, she has helped strengthen the core of our organization, and I know that, due to her efforts, we stand in a much better position to help our fellow students care for our friends on the street. We also wanted to wish the best to our outgoing board members Kerina Yao and Sarah Hludzinski as they move on to their next phases. We know that they both will continue making a difference in the lives of others no matter where they go, and we could not be prouder of them for it. 

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Guest Post: Liability, Malpractice, & Safety Policies In Academic-Based Street Medicine Programs: A Workshop Summary from ISMS 2022

There were many facets of the COVID-19 pandemic that considerably impacted the lives of persons experiencing homelessness. In response, individuals and families composing the homeless population adapted. The same was true for organizations serving the community. Shelters adapted their floor plans to increase “social distancing”; large-venue congregant shelters opened to accommodate the increased numbers of individuals who found themselves without housing; restrictions on outdoor camping were loosened which in turn made homelessness far more visible; cities struggled with new issues of allowing ‘tent cities’ in parks and parking lots regardless if they were officially sanctioned or not; agencies serving the population fiscally re-evaluated increased need for services with decreased funding from donations; everyone worried about the virus and simply surviving through the worst of the pandemic.

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Street Medicine and the Media (Public Partial Access)

Jim Withers, MD and Joel Hunt, PA

Media enquiries will come quoteThe act of providing direct medical care to those living on the streets is not just an important service, but one that provokes society. Time and again, street medicine programs activate the attention of the public and the media. This is an almost guaranteed part of the street medicine journey and deserves discussion. This paper is not a definitive work on the subject of media relations, but hopefully serves as a guide based on many decades of experience by street medicine experts.

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Street Medicine Fellowships

The UPMC Mercy Street Medicine Fellowship is currently accepting applications! Learn more here. 

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Letters From the Founder - Jim Withers

Jim Withers' Story

Dr. Jim Withers is the Founder of the Street Medicine Institute. The Institute evolved as an off-shoot of his groundbreaking work with Pittsburgh Mercy's Operation Safety Net, the street medicine program he established and continues to work with in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Withers describes his experience with street medicine in his Ted Talk here.

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Guest Post: ISMS Reflection by Dr. Andrew Bond Host City Lead

ISMS 18 annual meetingAll of us at Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) were so thrilled to host the 18th International Street Medicine Symposium in Toronto from September 21st – 24th this year! It had been such a long and gruelling time for all since we were all able to get together and we were so galvanized and inspired by the passion, kindness, commitment and innovative work being done throughout the world for to support the health and housing of unsheltered people and communities.  

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Guest Post: Writing a Human Rights Prescription for Governments: How the street medicine movement can leverage human rights law for transformative change

At the heart of both street medicine and human rights stands one animating principle: dignity. Anyone who practices street medicine understands that homelessness constitutes an affront to human dignity. To bear witness to systemic violations of human dignity, and stand in solidarity with those who experience it, is the daily work of street medicine practitioners. Practitioners in this field can vividly describe the dehumanization experienced by people who are unhoused – ritualized in our legal systems, our social services, our streets, our schools, and yes – our healthcare systems.

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Congrats On An Amazing ISMS 18!

What an amazing symposium we all just witnessed a few short weeks ago! I had such a great week and wish to congratulate and thank many of you who helped make it so successful:

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18 Things We Learned From #ISMS18

Here are 18 things we learned from #ISMS18, by the Street Medicine Institute Student Coalition.

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Street Medicine Educator Coalition Open Positions

We are currently looking for more people who want to be involved with the Street Medicine Educator Coalition! Learn more about the Educator Coalition. Currently, we have opportunities for positions on our Leadership Team and Education Work Group.

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SMI Program Highlight: Street Health DC

There’s something jarring about walking towards the U.S. Capitol and being surrounded by rows of tents that so many District of Columbia residents call home. Just blocks from the White House, there are encampments of people living without adequate shelter, access to food, or healthcare. In a city rich with resources and arguably the center of power in the United States, nowhere is it more obvious where we as a nation have made the political choice to intentionally value certain lives over others.

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Student Coalition Leadership Positions Election

Dear Student Coalition, 

The application process is now open,
and all students are invited to apply for the 2022-2023 Street Medicine Institute Student Coalition (SMISC) Leadership Team! You will find the application link at the bottom of this message.

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Narratives

NarrativesOut in the water - someone is flailing as they struggle to keep their head above the surface. They look exhausted. A bystander dives into the waves to help them swim back to the shore. Later, the bystander gets asked about their actions...

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Staying in Touch with My Humanity

JIm and Dave May 2005 Roberto Clemente Bridge PittsburghI will be the first to admit it. Even though I am a “child of the sixties”, my personal and professional life have generally followed the straight and narrow. Yet, I always felt motivated by the challenging words and actions of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and Paul Farmer. And, what about the admonition from the New Testament: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, so you do unto Me”? Even my high school teacher charted my trajectory with the adage “To whom much is given, much is to be expected”.

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SMI Welcomes Our New Operations Manager

Suzanne Lemaire LozierSuzanne Lemaire Lozier joined the Street Medicine Institute as Operations Manager in July 2022. Her career as a social worker has centered on homelessness in both direct service and administrative roles in several American cities and in France. Suzanne holds an undergraduate degree from Goucher College and a MSW from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois - Chicago. She is deeply committed to the human rights to health care and housing. Suzanne lives in Los Angeles. 

Maintaining Solidarity with the Street and with Each Other: A Guide to Street Medicine Practice in Cities with Multiple Programs

Maintaining Solidarity with the Street and with Each Other: A Guide to Street Medicine Practice in Cities with Multiple Programs  Brett Feldman, PA-C and Jim Withers, MD NEW RESOURCE - 

Maintaining Solidarity with the Street and with Each Other: A Guide to Street Medicine Practice in Cities with Multiple Programs

by Brett Feldman, PA-C and Jim Withers, MD

Founder's Letters: A Brief History of the International Street Medicine Symposium

As we approach the 18th International Street Medicine Symposium in Toronto this September, we thought it would be a good time to provide some background on our annual meeting. Around 2004, I was approached by a funder who wanted to support the replication of the “Operation Safety Net model” of street care. Although not entirely unique, it was one of only a few programs truly committed to full time medical street work. The first other program I learned about was Calcutta Rescue under the leadership of Dr. Jack Preger in India. When I visited Jack in December of 1993, the experience was an epiphany. I will never forget the feeling of realizing I was not alone. Prior to that, I thought I might be the only physician crazy enough to provide medical care under bridges. Even though Pittsburgh and Kolkata were radically different, the same forces of exclusion and the same passion for social justice were obvious. Not long thereafter, I learned of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless program and the pioneering work of Jim O’Connell and his colleagues. After visiting them on street rounds, I knew this was a new field of medicine – even if it did not yet have a name.

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