Dr. Jim Withers, from Pittsburgh, Pa., has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to treating the city’s homeless. He is known as the ‘street doctor’ because he dresses up like a homeless person and goes out at night to provide medical care to the real needy.
The extraordinary doctor started his unusual practice in 1992, along with Mike Sallows, a former homeless man. The two of them went out at night with backpacks of medicine. Withers estimates that he has treated over 1,200 homeless people a year since 1992.
Today, his initiative has evolved into a national network of medical students and volunteers who treat the homeless, four nights a week. The nightly service is now a nonprofit – Operation Safety Net. It is one of the first full-time street medicine programs in the United States.