Harm reduction saves lives

We understand that aspects of substance use and our society’s attitudes toward substance users can be destructive to an individual’s health, and broader social systems. Our program focuses on reducing the most severe harms, including fatal overdose, infectious diseases, neglect of overall health, needle waste in the street, and violence and crime.

“Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax with the Street Medicine Team” by Linda Acosta

Our program

Engage

  • Our team is mobile and assessments can be completed in the field
  • We use a flexible and harm reduction approach to rebuild the relationship between a patient and their desire to engage in care
  • We hold open access clinic hours in nontraditional sites where patients already feel comfortable
  • Our navigators and health workers have an authentic relationship to individuals and communities experiencing homelessness  

Care

  • The Street Medicine team physician or nurse practitioner evaluates patients face-to-face
  • Support patients throughout their journey to wellness 
  • Remove barriers. Open-access allows patients to receive care on a schedule that works for them
  • Outreach to patients and staying connected. We visit patients in hospitals, jail, detox, and residential treatment facilities
  • Having a multidisciplinary team with unique skills to offer throughout a patient’s treatment experience
  • Welcoming returning patients back into care and assessing how to improve care and connection moving forward
  • Patients who request re-prescription (re-engagement) after a period out of care, usually receive it

Transition

  • Transition is about easing a patient’s move from care with the Street Medicine Team to traditional primary care or other outpatient opioid treatment in the community.
  • It may include supporting a patient in a move to reunite with family, obtain employment, or otherwise exit homelessness.
  • Prepare patients for common challenges of a traditional primary care clinic, including appointments, limited visit times, and waiting rooms. Where possible and desired, offering accompaniment to traditional primary care clinics
  • Connect patients to harm reduction-oriented health providers and waiver programs in other cities
  • Keep the door open. Care is not linear, and we welcome any past patients back into our clinic without judgment

Street Medicine

In this video

Dr. Barry Zevin has treated patients experiencing homelessness for over 25 years. Hear what he has to say.

Engage

In this video

Shannon Ducharme talks about engaging with people on the street

Care

In this video

Gina Limon talks about caring for clients

Transition

In this video

Leah Warner talks about transitioning clients to primary care