Since 1992, Dr. Jim Withers has helped people living on the streets of Pittsburgh who are in dire need of medical services.
Known in Pittsburgh as “The Street Doctor”, Jim Withers has treated around 1,200 people every year since he started pounding the streets in 1992, dressed up as a homeless man.
Though he no longer wears the disguise he wore in his early days, Dr Withers said to the Huffington Post:
Literally, I started dressing like a homeless person and sneaking out at night with a guy who used to be homeless. The first thing that hit me was the number of people squirreled away under bridges and campsites.
As I began to look at the medical issues, I began to realize there were people with bad wounds, unhealed ulcers, cancers and all kinds of things that weren’t being addressed.
Mr Withers’ nightly service has evolved into the non-profit initiative Operation Safety Net and has become one of the nation’s first full-time street medicine programs.
More than 90 countries have since developed similar units.
Extended story on Pittsburgh Magazine
Dr Jim Wither’s initiative: Operation Safety Net