Street Medicine Symposium Geneva

The 12th International Street Medicine Symposium (ISMS) Geneva Switzerland 19-22 October 2016.


Around 110 street health workers from around the globe gathered to share knowledge and experience with providing heathcare to homeless populations. Again, the symposium was well organized and moderated by Dr. Pat Perri and Dr Jim Withers from Pittsburgh USA.


Host city Geneva  presented their efforts to reach and provide services to homeless, migrant and refugee populations – around 4,500 indivuals and 16,000 consultations per year -by Dr. Yves Jackson (Twenty Years of Street Medicine in Geneva) as well as harm reduction strategies in a substance use unit in the city center, that aims to reach vulnerable drug users at risk of overdose, infections and general health damage, by Dr. Anne Francois (Providing Primary Care to Drug Users in a Safe Use Facility in Geneva).


It was very special to attend the documentary film by Benoit Lange  Docteur Jack: un homme, une vie, un combat (Doctor Jack: a man, a life, a fight) who has been a street doctor in Calcutta for decades and attended all 12 street medicine symposiums over time. See more about the remarble man at


Photo left to right: Jack Preger, Jim Withers, Igor van Laere, Marcel Slockers

Invited lecture presentations

The Netherlands Streetdoctors Group (NSG), represented by Dr. Igor van Laere, Dr. Michiel Vermaak and Dr. Marcel Slockers from Rotterdam, were very pleased to share some Dutch street lessons during the invited lecture presentations (Intellectual Disability and Mortality among Dutch Homeless People: Efforts and Lessons of the Netherlands Streetdoctors Group), link to presentation



Other street lessons were shared by Dr. Nigel Hewett from London (photo below left) lecture Pathway, Medical Respite, and the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health: Updates and New Evidence from the UK

Dr. Austin O’Carroll from Dublin (photo below right) lecture Making Sense of Street Chaos: An Ethnographic Exploration of Homeless People’s Health Service Usage in Dublin.


…and further most interesting lectures were shared by Dr. Brett Feldman from Lehigh Valley health network – Allentown USA (Context Counts: Developing Alternative Clinical Guidelines for the Street Provider), Professor Nick Maguire from Southampton UK (Can Psychological Interventions Be Effective for People Sleeping Rough?), Dr. Kevin Sullivan from Boston (Bending the Overdose Curve: Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s New Harm Reduction Program) and Irene MacFaddan chair-elect Street Medicine Board of Directors USA (Street Medicine Institute Annual Update: Fulfilling the Mission). During interesting lectures and workshops lessons were shared and participants energized and refuelled.


Next ISMS events

The 13th ISMS will be at Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania USA 19-21 October 2017, please check updates at


photo by jacqueline lewis at

For the 14th ISMS edition in 2018 most participants mentioned Rotterdam as a suitable candidate.


Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health UK report on the event by Dr. Nigel Hewett

Street Medicine Geneva Conference 2016

An international group gathered in Geneva a few days ago to learn from each other about different approaches to taking health care to where patients need it. Many heroic efforts from Dr Jack in Calcutta, SamuSocial in Paris and Austin O’Carroll in Dublin, to various Street based services in the States. An interesting contrast emerged between the Geneva safer drug use facility, where users inject or inhale safely then go out onto the streets, and an experiment in Boston (where such a facility would be illegal as it is in the UK) where users inject on the streets, then come into a unit for observation.

Contacts also reforged with our Dutch colleagues who have street outreach, functioning Medical Respite, and even a Learning Disabilities Consultant on the Rotterdam team. The Dutch report on the conference and links to their website here.

Dit wilt u ook lezen