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Walking In Your Shoes E6 Street Medicine Boot Camp

residents & fellows Sep 03, 2023

by John Stillson MD

Street Medicine

I recently completed our Street Medicine Boot Camp, the first step of our two-year longitudinal Street Medicine track. The objective of this track is profound – to reach out to those experiencing homelessness and provide them with not just medical care, but the dignity, compassion, and understanding they deserve.

This experience easily stood out as one of the highlights of my time in residency thus far. In the sterile confines of a clinic, patients often struggle to be vulnerable, creating barriers to receiving healthcare. However, when we meet them in their makeshift homes scattered around town, the dynamic shifts. It's here that we are forced to become humble as patients are placed in positions of power within the relationship.

Changing Perspectives

During my time in Street Medicine Boot Camp, I did a variety of activities from cutting open abscesses to managing Suboxone for patients with a history of opioid use disorder. Yet, it wasn't the practice of medicine that left a lasting impression. It was the conversations we had during those two weeks that challenged my perspective on numerous fronts.

One such topic that we tackled was the provision of clean drug supplies and even clean drugs to patients. This unconventional approach has garnered attention, with studies in clinics in New York and Canada demonstrating the potential benefits of providing clean drugs. The rise of fentanyl-laced drugs has exacerbated the opioid crisis, making it imperative that we find innovative ways to protect our patients in vulnerable communities. Traditional approaches in the 'war on drugs' have yet to eliminate illicit substances from the streets, underscoring the need for alternative methods. Prior to this boot camp, I would have been staunchly opposed to the idea of providing “clean drugs” to patients but now I think there might be a time and place for this kind of intervention.

Humbling Complexities

Looking ahead, I am eager to engage in the ongoing conversations that surround the complex issues of assisting those who call the streets their home. Those who “live outside.” These discussions span a wide range of topics, from defining the role of medical providers in this context to determining the government's responsibility in caring for those who find themselves on the fringes of our communities. These first two weeks were just the beginning, and I look forward to continuing to humbly learn from this unique group of people.

Resident & Fellow Live Webinar Invitation

This is Tod from SimpliMD/Dr. Inc. for a little intro to our live webinar.

I love having John and Cheyenne's experiences shared on this blog. I have a tender spot in my heart for today's residents as I believe a career in medicine is more challenging than ever.

It's why I started Dr. Inc. and SimpliMD to be a beacon of truth to help guide all doctors to their best lives.

So am excited to announce our first SimpliMD live webinar called "Are You Ready To Take Control of Your Future" and you can check it out here.

The target audience is residents and fellows --John and Cheyenne will be hosting it in their home in Fort Worth, TX.

Join us on September 29th at 7:00 PM CST for dinner and then the presentation at 7:30 PM. In-person attendance is limited to the first 20 doctors (significant others can come). You can also attend the live-streamed presentation online.

I am inviting any of my SimpliMD members to attend whether you are a resident or not.

You can register for the live webinar here.


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