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International Street Medicine Symposium XVI
Thursday – Saturday, October 15 – 17, 2020 
A Virtual Event
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Great News!

The Street Medicine Institute is excited to announce the 16th annual International Street Medicine Symposium (ISMS 16), to be held October 15 - 17, 2020.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are having our first ever virtual symposium, and it is free for our members!

Learning Activities

The International Street Medicine Symposium (ISMS) is the world’s premier educational event dedicated to the health care of rough-sleeper (unsheltered) homeless populations.  As always, the ISMS will offer an impressive slate of homeless health care experts from around the globe presenting clinical topics, innovations, research outcomes, and best practices relevant to street medicine through the popular format mix of large-group lectures, interactive small-group oral presentations and workshops, and poster presentations. Clinicians and non-clinicians are invited to participate; we encourage and celebrate the diversity of professional roles and disciplines represented among participants.  We intend to offer continuing medical education credits for eligible clinicians.

Our Virtual Platform

The Street Medicine Institute has selected Whova as the virtual platform for ISMS 16 to be used in combination with Zoom for face-to-face interaction. In addition to streaming lecture, workshop, and poster presentations, Whova offers capacity for members to connect through online chat and message boards, a mobile app, and the ability to watch or re-watch recorded sessions for up to one year. The organizing committee of ISMS 16 hopes this platform will allow you to have the ability to meaningfully connect with each other, despite our physical distance this year. 

Using Whova requires an internet connection, but no download of the platform is necessary to view and participate in educational sessions. The Whova mobile app does require a download and internet connection. To join some of the interactive sessions, participants will also need to download Zoom prior to the symposium.  Web links to Zoom meeting rooms via our Whova platform will allow automatic connection between the two platforms to enter some of the presentations and workshops. All downloads are free, but may incur mobile data charges if Wifi is not available.  The symposium organizers will send additional information, including instructions on use, about Zoom and the Whova platform and app several weeks prior to ISMS 16.

Reconnect and Re-energize

As consistently reported by past participants, one of the most valuable experiences of the ISMS is the opportunity to interact with street medicine colleagues from around the world.  This year, as a part of our virtual package, program activities will incorporate time to reconnect with old friends, make new contacts, and share stories of the triumphs and challenges of this important work.  Specifically, the mobile app permits up to 30 people to connect via video chat in one room. Participants will be inspired and re-energized as they renew a common commitment to improving the lives of their brothers and sisters living on the streets.

Program Schedule

Once again, we received an impressive array of speaker proposals, and we extend our thanks to all who participated in the 2020 Call for Presenters.  

Knowing there are unique challenges in gathering participants throughout the world for a virtual symposium, the organizing committee selected a schedule intended to serve as many time zones as possible. Because we are unable to accommodate every time zone, recorded sessions will be available with your registration. Click HERE to review the schedule. We expect ISMS 16 to be another enriching, educational experience for all who attend.  The Street Medicine Institute reserves the right to make last minute program adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances.  

Street Medicine 101 Workshop 

We are pleased to offer this special pre-symposium workshop, updated this year to address common challenges among new and developing Street Medicine programs through our virtual platform. This high-yield introductory session is targeted to those individuals and organizations that may be new to Street Medicine or in need of expert guidance to launch or enhance their Street Medicine activities. This workshop will provide an instructive overview of the history, principles, and practice of Street Medicine, as well as interaction with experts in the field for guidance and problem solving. 

Keynote Address

“The Global Inequities of a Pandemic: Fighting for Justice as a Unified Community”

We are excited to announce our keynote speaker: Barbara DiPietro, Ph.D., the Senior Director of Policy for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council! 

Dr. DiPietro has been working in public policy for 20 years, many of them specifically focused on health care and homelessness.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Policy Sciences and a Doctorate in Public Policy, both from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  Her dissertation research focused on the impact of homelessness on emergency departments in Baltimore City, and she continues to work to ensure that health care systems can better serve vulnerable populations.  For 10 years, she worked for the State of Maryland in the Governor’s Office as well as the Department of Health, helping coordinate health and human services policy and legislation, inter-agency children and family services, and the state’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.  At this time, she is Senior Director of Policy for two organizations—the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and Health Care for the Homeless of Maryland. In these dual roles, she is able to focus on national, state and local health policy, with the specific goals of advancing human rights and ending homelessness.


Registration is now open and is free and exclusive to our members this year!  If you are already a member,  please click HERE to register. If you are not a member and would like to attend the symposium, click HERE to become a member. If you have any difficulty with the registration process, please contact Chris Rafalski at [email protected]

Program Member Registration:If you are registering a group of people from your program, please make sure they all have accounts with the Institute. If right now, you only have two program linked members, you will still be able to register a third member at any time up until the event.  If you have any trouble with the registration process, please contact Chris Rafalski at [email protected]

Message from the Chair

Within the past year, many of our lives and work have changed dramatically and we have found ourselves needing to adapt to new ways to connect with each other and provide meaningful street-based care amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The ISMS 16 organizing committee feels that this year, more than ever, we need each other and this symposium. Even though we are unable to meet physically together, I hope you will feel connected and uplifted with the strength and support of our international street medicine community.

With your participation and expertise, we anticipate an outstanding International Street Medicine Symposium this year!  I hope to see you virtually in October so we can continue to learn from one another and renew our collective commitment to improving the lives of our brothers and sisters living on the streets throughout the world.

In service and solidarity,


Liz Frye, MD, MPH

Chair, 16th annual International Street Medicine Symposium