About

What is Street Medicine Lehigh Valley?

It all started with a simple idea.

Bring healthcare to the homeless where they feel comfortable rather than making them come to us where they don’t  feel comfortable. And just like that, the beginnings of street medicine were born in the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania).

This simple idea would change the trajectory of my families life and that of many we have worked with over the years.  Ideas are powerful things and ideas with a plan can surprise you in ways you never anticipated.

This blog is dedicated to the journey of developing Street Medicine in our area. We are a work in progress as are all Street Medicine programs.

Always evolving. Always thinking outside the box. Always pushing the envelope just a little bit.

Former President George H. Bush often referred to community organizations as being a thousand points of light.  Street medicine is a perfect example of a point of light that will ultimately shine a light into the darkest places.

Who Are We?

The Lehigh Valley generally refers to Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton Pennsylvania as well as the surrounding areas. Prior to 2007, this area had no comprehensive medical care available to the homeless. My husband, Brett, and I are physician assistants who decided to change the way healthcare is delivered to the homeless in our area. Somehow in the entire universe, we found each other and spend most of our time either taking care of the homeless or thinking about how to take care of the homeless( or asking our three children for their ideas – which are sometimes surprisingly good given their pint size view).

Using the collective brain power of street medicine pioneers like Dr. Jim Withers, Dr. Patrick Perri and Dr. Jim O’Connell, we developed a healthcare delivery system that put free clinics in homeless shelters and soup kitchens  and a street team that seeks out those who live in the shadows of our society. Educating our physician assistant students, nursing students, medical students and residents is also a vital piece of the long term plan to transform how the homeless are cared for.

Promises Promises

I will make some promises to you about this blog:

1. I am a painfully honest person and promise to only talk about things that I actually know something about. There are many people who are smarter than I and therefore, any question I cannot answer will be passed along to one of them.

2. I use humor all the time. My humor is never meant to demean, belittle or make light of the human condition.

3. This blog will talk a lot about street medicine, homelessness and our valuable friends who call the street their home. But it was also talk about the many moving parts and people who contribute to reaching our patients. It may also get personal. Let’s face it, life continues to happen even though you are a person on a mission. Our personal life experiences color our perception of reality. Acknowledging this is critical and sharing that fact that sometimes it isn’t glamorous reminds us that it is worth it.

4. This street medicine adventure is just getting started and so I hope you stick with us for this crazy mission to help heal the homeless.

5. The opinions in this blog are mine alone. I don’t speak for any hospital, university or organization.

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Comments
  1. buttnurse6 says:

    I am a resident of Bethlehem, am currently in school to become a FNP and have been a nurse for 20 years (last 10 years in GI & 3 in PACU) I would love to volunteer with your organization…is that possible? Please contact me at martinidreamin@yahoo.com if you need help. I grew up in San Diego volunteering with homeless shelters…and going to Tijuana to help the poverty stricken locals there…I loved it and found it so rewarding. Thanks for your time,
    Lynn Hoerres

    Like

  2. npark79 says:

    I love your mission, and as a fellow PA, am awed by what you’ve accomplished thusfar.I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. Please stop by to check out how to accept the award: https://tellitslantmama.wordpress.com/the-liebster-award/. I’m really looking forward to your answers.
    Happy blogging!
    -Nguyen

    Like

  3. Patricia Harley says:

    I am working ER at Muhlenburg, and would love to get involved in this. Also would love to help any of the homeless who may have pets.

    Like

    • Patricia- Thank you for your comment! I would send an email to Brett at brett_j.feldman@lvhn.org about volunteering since you are already in the network. Many of the homeless have pets and don’t come into shelters because of concern for their animals. We may be able to work together on a solution for that! – Corinne

      Like

  4. vschuler65 says:

    I appreciate your mission! That’s awesome!

    Like

  5. Pat Mattes says:

    I am contacting you because of the article that appeared in the Morning Call last December.
    Would you accept winter hats that are hand knitted for the people who may be living in
    shelters, woods, under bridges or where ever they stay? I’m an old lady that loves to knit
    and I work on hats most every day.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Peace Pat Mattes

    Like

  6. Meghann Halwick says:

    Hello,

    I am a resident of the Lehigh valley and a aspiring PA student. I recently learned of this program and found it so inspiring. I am currently a volunteer at Lehigh Valley Muhlenburg in the ASU but i would love to get involved in volunteering or contributing to this mission and learning more about street medicine. If there is any way I can contribute or get involved please let me know! My email address is meghannhal@gmail.com

    Like

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