Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #351A
CE Offered: BACB
Go to the People
Sunday, May 26, 2024
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon H
Area: SCI; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jonathan W. Pinkston (University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Jonathan W. Pinkston, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: JAMES WITHERS (UPMC Mercy Hospital)

This talk with introduce the emerging field of street medicine – the direct delivery of care to those sleeping on the streets. Dr. Withers teaches medicine in Pittsburgh where he pioneered the work and has led a global movement to establish programs on all six continents. Street medicine has implications for effective care of excluded populations in that health teams are intentionally “woven” into the fabric of those populations, establishing trust and solidarity, allowing for not just healthcare but a shared journey towards social justice. This talk will review the history of street medicine, the unique qualities and values it embodies, the implications for improved care, medical education and how it allows the healthcare system to reclaim its’ humanity and relevance.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Clinicians, administrators, community advocates and learners

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe how street medicine evolved to address specific short-comings of the current healthcare system; (2) outline the core values and principle of street medicine practice; (3) describe how street medicine is augmenting and transforming healthcare through patient engagement, medical education and collaborative network development.
In 1992, Dr. Jim Withers dressed as a homeless person and joined a formerly homeless man to visit the street dwellers of Pittsburgh, making "house calls" at night. This initiative led to his program, Operation Safety Net (OSN) that brings medical care and social services directly to the unsheltered homeless. It also serves as a pioneering “classroom” for students of various disciplines to learn the principles of reality-based care. In 2005, Dr. Withers established the annual International Street Medicine Symposium (with current partners in North America, South and Central America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia) to foster collaboration in the care of those sleeping on the streets. In 2009, Dr. Withers created the new non-profit Street Medicine Institute to promote the global practice of street medicine. In 2019, Dr. Withers created the first Street Medicine Fellowship at the UPMC Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Withers is in practice with the Pittsburgh Mercy health system, on the Internal Medicine teaching faculty of UPMC Mercy Hospital and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.



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