Several Wayne State University students started Street Medicine Detroit in May.
They’d heard about a similar program in Pittsburg and they were inspired. They partnered with a Detroit non-profit called Neighborhood Service Organization and together they created a mobile medical clinic.
Philip Ramsey is a community outreach specialist with NSO. (Rumor has it that if you’re trying to locate a specific homeless person, and you give Ramsey the vaguest of details, he can go out and find that person who might be living in a tent next to highway.)
It’s Ramsey’s job to drive the med team around the streets and back-alleys of Detroit and to help them locate homeless people who are in need of medical services.
So once a week, the van rumbles down Michigan Avenue past prostitutes on the corners and a young man pushing a baby stroller. Ramsey helps the team find people who are lying down on the ground or sitting on the curb. He says additional clues that someone may be homeless are people with dirty clothes and uncombed hair, or people who are openly drinking.