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Dr. Jim Withers

Operation Safety Net
In 1992, Dr. Jim Withers dressed as a homeless person and joined a formerly homeless
man to visit the street dwellers of Pittsburgh making "house calls" at night. This led to the founding of Operation Safety Net (OSN), the first full time, comprehensive medical
service of its’ kind for the unsheltered homeless. Medical care is delivered directly on
the streets, along the river banks and in the abandoned buildings of Pittsburgh, with full
social service and housing follow-up. OSN has been recognized internationally and is
being replicated or studied by cities throughout the world. In 2005, Dr. Withers
established the annual International Street Medicine Symposium (with current partners in
North America, South and Central America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia) to foster
collaboration in the care of those sleeping on the streets. In 2009, Dr. Withers created
the Street Medicine Institute to focus on helping communities establish Street Medicine
programs, improve existing practice and create a student fellowship in Street Medicine.
The field of street medicine he is helping to develop promises to bring health and hope to
millions throughout the world. He is most proud of the many students who have gone on
to careers in service oriented medicine.

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