For more than 20 years, Dr. Jim Withers has walked the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, going where the homeless go, to bring them free, quality medical care. He calls it “street medicine.”
When he first started, he’d camouflage himself to blend in with the people he sought to help. By wearing worn-out clothes and rubbing dirt in his hair, he hoped to win the trust of homeless people on the streets and under bridges of the city.
Today, they know him and trust him with their lives, which he works to heal.
He routinely checks people for injuries and illness and hands out medicine as needed, and works with them to get insurance, housing, and the health care they need.
Withers also created Operation Safety Net, an organization that provides a mobile medical van, walk-in clinics, a computerized database of homeless patients, and the ability to track and assist patients with health care and recovery. To do that, he works alongside Pittsburg’s Mercy Health System and Trinity Health, two Catholic hospital systems.
Dr. Withers’ organization also trains doctors in street medicine to carry on his pioneering practice.
You can vote for Withers as your choice to be Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com. The network will announce the winner on December 6 at their annual gala, and present the 2015 Hero of the Year with $100,000 for continuing his or her good work.
(Watch his story from CNN HERE)
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