Mission and Goals
The UR Street Outreach mission is to ensure access to quality medical care for Rochester’s unsheltered homeless population, operating under the principle that health care is a basic human right. UR Street Outreach seeks to bridge gaps between the homeless and medical communities through direct street outreach and engagement with homeless people where they live, building relationships and trust, and offering companionship and respect.
Goals and Objectives
- Improve access to quality health care for the homeless population by providing direct, continuous medical care on the streets, with the goal of linking them with a primary medical home.
- Address the specific problems of the homeless through a psychosocial model of care that looks at each person as a whole and focuses on the individual’s own goals and needs.
- Promote health literacy, healthier lifestyles, and general well being.
- Break down stigmas and confront stereotypes by creating a space of positive dialogue and an environment of dignity and respect between the homeless population and the medical world.
- Create a valuable educational and community service opportunity for students to practice Street Medicine.
UR Street Outreach began in 2011 when Emma Lo, then a second year medical student, made a formal proposal to Adrienne Morgan, senior director of SMD’s Center for Advocacy, Community Health, Education and Diversity (CACHED). The program is based, in part, on Lo’s experience with Operation Safety Net, a Street Medicine program founded by Jim Withers, M.D., 20 years ago that is now part of the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System. Lo spent a year in AmeriCorps, working with Operation Safety Net, which is now a model in a national Street Medicine movement.