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Newsmaker: Dr. Jim Withers

| Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

Residence: Wilkinsburg

Age: 51

Family: Four children

Occupation: Physician and professor of internal medicine, teaching at Mercy Hospital

Education: Bachelor's degree in chemistry, Haverford College; medical degree, University of Pittsburgh

Background: Works with Operation Safety Net based at Pittsburgh Mercy Health System providing health care and housing for the area's homeless. About 1,500 homeless people are receiving health care from the program.

Noteworthy: Organizes the annual memorial for homeless people who have died. One homeless woman died of exposure during 2008. The latest memorial was held on a very cold day last month. Operation Safety Net brings medical and other students to treat homeless people for three-month stints.

Quote: "We try to teach physicians to meet community needs. I think students today are more sensitive than in the past. We create an opportunity here and people respond."

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