Today’s episode features a street medicine conversation with our panel from CommuniCare Health Centers in Yolo County, Ritter Center in Marin County, and Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center in Solano County.
According to California Health Care Foundation, 70 % of the approximately 150,000 people experiencing homelessness in California, are living unsheltered. A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found the mortality rate of unsheltered adults was almost 3 times that of adults primarily sleeping in shelters and nearly 10 times that of the overall adult population, with common causes of death including cancer and heart disease. In addition, people experiencing street-based homelessness are hospitalized and readmitted at higher rates, and experience trauma and exposure at higher rates than sheltered people experiencing homelessness.
According to the Street Medicine Institute, street medicine is the provision of health care directly to those living and sleeping on the streets through mobile services such as walking teams, medical vans, and outdoor clinics.
To help stimulate the spread and scale of these programs, it’s necessary to understand their characteristics and the policies and funding mechanisms that would help support and sustain them.