Doctor to Pittsburgh’s homeless to keynote Point Park commencement |

Doctor to Pittsburgh’s homeless to keynote Point Park commencement

Deb Erdley
Dr. Jim Withers, Operation Safety Net Founder

A Pittsburgh physician who launched Operation Safety Net, a nationally known street medicine program that serves the homeless, will be Point Park University’s featured commencement speaker on April 27 at PPG Paints Arena.

Dr. Jim Withers, a physician with the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, was named a Top 10 CNN Hero in 2016 for his work with the city’s homeless population.

“Point Park is proud of the work that’s been done on campus over the years to support Operation Safety Net. Jim’s incredible public service is reflective of the community engagement work our students, faculty and staff perform all the time. I can’t think of anyone better to inspire our graduates as they head out into the real world,” Point Park President Paul Hennigan said in announcing the commencement program.

Withers first began to dress as a homeless man and making calls to homeless people under the city’s bridges and in homeless encampments in 1992. His efforts became the foundation for Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net. The program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, is now associated with over 30 medical schools across the country.

More than 700 students are expected to graduate with degrees in 65 majors at Point Park’s commencement, which starts at 12:30 p.m.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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