University of Southern Indiana

Symposium on Homelessness to highlight “Lessons from the Streets”

Symposium on Homelessness to highlight “Lessons from the Streets”

1/30/2017 | University Communications
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Those working in health-related fields, social workers and educators often are on the front lines when it comes to interacting with the homeless. For the fifth year in a row, the University of Southern Indiana will host a Symposium on Homelessness to educate students on the challenges related to homelessness they may face when they enter the workforce. This year’s symposium will once again be a collaboration between USI, University of Evansville, Indiana University School of Medicine - Evansville and Ivy Tech Community College Southwest, as well as representatives from a host of local agencies that work with the homeless.

The fifth-annual Symposium on Homelessness will be held from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, February 20 in Carter Hall in University Center West on the USI campus.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Jim O’Connell of Boston, Massachusetts, founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program which now serves over 13,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics and in more than 60 shelters and outreach sites in Boston.

Dr. O’Connell’s presentation: “Lessons from the Streets: Three Decades Caring for Boston’s Rough Sleepers,” will be repeated for the public from 6-7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 20 at USI’s Carter Hall.

An assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. O’Connell is the author of Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor, which describes the humanity and raw courage of those who struggle to survive and find meaning and hope while living on the streets. He has also been featured on ABC’s Nightline and in the feature-length documentary, Give Me a Shot of Anything

More than 600 participants, primarily senior-level students from all four academic institutions, are expected to attend the Symposium on Homelessness, which includes representatives from a wide variety of health-related fields as well as social work, teacher education and others. The event also will include a volunteer fair that coincides with the event and will offer opportunities for students to get involved with local community agencies that address homelessness directly. Representatives from local agencies will be on hand to answer questions and sign up volunteers.

USI’s Symposium on Homelessness grew out of Destination Home, an effort begun in 2004 to end homelessness in Vanderburgh County.

For more information, contact Julie St. Clair at 812-465-1169 or jstclair@usi.edu.

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