According to the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count report conducted by the Maricopa Association of Governments, on the night of January 23, 2017, there were 5,605 people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County. Of these, 2,059 individuals were living in unsheltered situations (i.e., living on the streets). In response to these alarming statistics, Justin Zeien and Jeffery Hanna, two recent graduates from the Master’s of Public Health program at the University of Arizona – Phoenix Biomedical Campus, developed Street Medicine Phoenix (SMP). SMP is a student-driven interprofessional health care and social justice team consisting of students and faculty from University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. SMP’s mission is to provide access to quality, individualized health care and meet the unmet needs of Phoenix’s homeless population living and sleeping on the streets. Their vision is to walk side-by-side with every homeless individual in Phoenix as they strive to overcome personal obstacles and societal stigmas in their pursuit of happiness, well-being, and a home.
SMP incorporates the home-care model to provide direct outreach to homeless individuals living in areas inaccessible by vehicle. These “house calls” enable SMP to do what many other homeless providers cannot: meet the homeless on their terms and empower them to lead their own care. Although other street medicine initiatives exist in Arizona and across the country, SMP is unique in that interprofessional teams of students are providing the services. SMP unites medicine, nursing, social work, public health, psychology, pharmacy, physical therapy and veterinary sciences to provide holistic care for homeless individuals. Undergraduate students are encouraged to join to assist with direct outreach as a scribe or interpreter. Students can also get involved in community partnerships development and grant procurement.
Feel free to email SMP at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.