Tag Archives: Health

Unconventional “Street Doctor” Treats the Homeless (VIDEO)



Julie Sokolow

Julie Sokolow is a musician, writer, and filmmaker based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the creator of the Healthy Artists documentary series, in which young creatives discuss their struggles with the American health care system.

January 9th, 2014 1:16 PM
Unconventional “Street Doctor” Treats the Homeless (VIDEO)

By Julie Sokolow

Dr. Jim Withers was willing to risk his standing in the medical institution, when he started dressing like a homeless person. It was 1992.

After working a long day at the hospital, he’d hit city streets to dole out aspirin and cough medicine and take blood pressure. Homeless people seldom receive care when they’re sick or hurt, and Withers was resolved to do something about it.

Twenty years later, Withers’ outreach program Operation Safety Net has reached approximately 10,000 homeless people. It’s also provided 900 individuals with housing. For Withers, medicine is not a business, it’s a calling. Imagine what the American health care system would look like if more pioneering heroes were willing to take the right risks.

Video for NationSwell. Directed by Julie Sokolow, Camera by Bryan Heller, Produced by Jacob Templin, Music by Bexar Bexar.