A compassionate touch or a dignified encounter can be more healing than the provision of a medication. Our staff have designed their delivery system to best meet the needs of their patients and clients. They work in teams that include primary care providers, behavioral health specialists, and social workers. It also requires working in a location that is most accessible to the patients in need, whether it be a free clinic or an encampment that requires hiking down with a backpack full of medications.
Backpack medicine allows the program to treat the most marginalized patients who have the greatest needs. In addition, backpack medicine enables providers to diagnose and treat medical and psychiatric conditions at an earlier stage. This helps to prevent more severe medical complications like AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and also avoids unnecessary health care costs in medical and psychiatric emergency room visits in the future.
Street Medicine KC was founded in 2016 by Jae Bennett, Executive Director. SMKC was insipred by the need for local humanitarian medical volunteerism when it came to the Kansas City homeless population. The work of Jim Withers MD, and his organization Operation Safety Net in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania provided the SMKC model for street medicine and medical volunteerism for the homeless. The vast disaster experience of Dr Mark Stinson, both nationally and internationally, provided the SMKC model for medical volunteerism during times of disaster. Using these models of volunteer homeless and disaster medicine, the SMKC programs were designed and implemented.