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Guest Post: ISMS Reflection by Dr. Andrew Bond Host City Lead

ISMS 18 annual meetingAll of us at Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) were so thrilled to host the 18th International Street Medicine Symposium in Toronto from September 21st – 24th this year! It had been such a long and gruelling time for all since we were all able to get together and we were so galvanized and inspired by the passion, kindness, commitment and innovative work being done throughout the world for to support the health and housing of unsheltered people and communities.  

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Congrats On An Amazing ISMS 18!

What an amazing symposium we all just witnessed a few short weeks ago! I had such a great week and wish to congratulate and thank many of you who helped make it so successful:

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18 Things We Learned From #ISMS18

Here are 18 things we learned from #ISMS18, by the Street Medicine Institute Student Coalition.

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ISMS 18 Keynote Presenter: Dr. Kaitlin Schwan

Kaitlin SchwanDr. Kaitlin Schwan is Executive Director of the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network and a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. She teaches social policy at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work, where she is appointed Assistant Professor, Status Only. She is the former Senior Researcher for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing and Director of Research for The Shift, where she worked in countries around the world to advance the right to housing. Dr. Schwan completed her PhD in Social Work at the University of Toronto in 2016 and has over 15 years of research and policy practice focused on homelessness prevention and human rights, particularly for women and youth. She uses research to build bridges between evidence, advocacy, policy, and lived expertise to advance housing justice in Canada and internationally.  

Founder's Letters: A Brief History of the International Street Medicine Symposium

As we approach the 18th International Street Medicine Symposium in Toronto this September, we thought it would be a good time to provide some background on our annual meeting. Around 2004, I was approached by a funder who wanted to support the replication of the “Operation Safety Net model” of street care. Although not entirely unique, it was one of only a few programs truly committed to full time medical street work. The first other program I learned about was Calcutta Rescue under the leadership of Dr. Jack Preger in India. When I visited Jack in December of 1993, the experience was an epiphany. I will never forget the feeling of realizing I was not alone. Prior to that, I thought I might be the only physician crazy enough to provide medical care under bridges. Even though Pittsburgh and Kolkata were radically different, the same forces of exclusion and the same passion for social justice were obvious. Not long thereafter, I learned of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless program and the pioneering work of Jim O’Connell and his colleagues. After visiting them on street rounds, I knew this was a new field of medicine – even if it did not yet have a name.

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