Doctor Bringing Borderless

Meet the Doctor Bringing Health Care to the Streets

After Dr. Jim Withers pioneered 'street medicine' the world took notice.

What began as a small endeavor 1992 has blossomed into a worldwide movement that is reshaping how some folks access medical care. With a formerly homeless friend, Dr. Jim Withers packed his backpack full of medical supplies and took to the streets.

Now, through Operation Safety Net—the non-profit he founded—Withers and small groups of medical students travel through the city five nights a week to give medical assistance to homeless folks. ‘Street medicine’ is a term Dr. Withers coined himself with the philosophy that homeless folks are unlikely to seek out medical treatment when they’re sick, so we should bring treatment to them. Some treatments are minor fixes, others have led to hospitalization.

“Besides just the good that it does and the money that it saves, having street medicine in every community transforms us. We begin to see that we’re all in this together.”

Since starting out in the early 1990s, Withers estimates his organization has treated more than 1200 folks. That’s not counting the 85 organizations around the world who’ve started initiatives mirroring Operation Safety Net.

 

 

Withers believes this is not only a benefit for the individuals in need of medical care, but creates a more healthy, empathetic community as a whole.

“Everybody matters. We need to look out for the people who are the most ostracized in our communities. That will make us better people,” Withers told Nationswell.

His teams are small—no bigger than four people—so as not to invade the space of those they treat.

Speaking on the experience of his medical students, Withers told CNN, “The street classroom really ignites, or reignites, what their passion is. They feel like, ‘Yes, this is what it’s about.’ And they carry that forward. I think the lessons the homeless can teach us about finding humanity and listening to people are transcendent in all of healthcare.”

Feature photo:  CNN

Movement Art Borderless

‘Movement Art Is’ Believes Performance is the Antidote for Anger

These two guys are dancing their way into a more inclusive world.

Movement Art Is (MAI) knows that performance art is a universal language that connects folks on a plane beyond geography, origin, or background. This organization—founded by two guys who’ve been dancing since they were small—pushes the boundaries of what performance can be through classes, performances, films, and exhibitions. They call it ‘resetting the spectrum of what dance can be’, integrating educational and social impact into their movement.

MAI Co-founders Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, who have collective experience working with the likes of Madonna and the TriBeCa film festival, believe their art form is an important method of promoting empathy and starting difficult conversations.

“The whole premise behind Movement Art Is is to use dance to inspire positive change in the world,” says Boogz. “We really believe dance is not just entertainment—we believe it is a tool to break down social-economic boundaries.”

 

 

For them, dance is not only about technical mastery, it’s also about true artistic expression.

“The power of dance—what it can do, how it can unify us… it can be a tool that helps to change the world. A lot of the time when people see our work, even if you’re not a fan of dance you can relate to the narrative, the story, the message, the social issue that we’re trying to address,” says Boogz.

Boogz and Lil Buck travel the world to spread their message, including a TED performance called Honor Thy Mother—a multimedia piece in homage to our Earth—and the performance of a piece a few feet away from the US-Mexico border.

“When you have talent it becomes more than just a gift, it becomes a responsibility,” Lil Buck told Splinter News.

 

 

Feature image: Alexa Meade Art Youtube.

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