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Street Medicine

Episode 5 - Creating Order Out of Chaos

Homeless shelters can be chaotic environments, and they’re challenging places to teach and practice medicine. Join second year medical student Nathan Furst-Nichols on his first visit to the House of Mercy for UR Street Outreach’s bi-weekly medical clinic.

Under supervising physician Dr. Catherine Przystal, Furst-Nichols and second year medical student Erin Bulleit tend to the medical needs of homeless patients, while learning about the psychological and social challenges they face.

Taking it to the Streets

Students and doctors participating in UR Street Outreach, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry’s street medicine program, say they get back much more than they give, and learn from the homeless population they serve.

UR Street Outreach is a new student-run project at SMD. It serves the homeless population in Rochester whose needs are not being met by SMD’s two other student-run outreach medical projects which provide free health care services to uninsured and under-served adults. (UR Well clinics at Asbury First United Methodist Church and St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center.)

Bridging the Gap

There’s a chasm between the medical community and the street population created by mistrust and lack of understanding. Homeless people are often wary of the medical community and reluctant to seek help, despite their need. Medical personnel often have little direct knowledge of homeless people’s issues or understanding of their perspectives. UR Street Outreach seeks to bridge that gap by bringing medicine to the street homeless, on their turf, on their terms. This means walking the streets and seeking out the camps where homeless people live. The first and most important step is building trust.