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This Miami doctor combines medical care with social justice

Dr. Armen Henderson, left, a University of Miami internist, conducting a COVID-19 test on Barry Alston in Miami's Overtown neighborhood in 2020.

Dr. Armen Henderson makes house calls to the unhoused.

He doesn’t wait for those who need medical care to come to him — at the hospital. He realized that the people who need the most help, who have the most urgent needs, have an endless list of barriers to medical care.

Unaffordable housing. Low wages. Flooding. Distrust of police. Especially while they’re homeless. So Henderson takes his medicine to them.

He started Dade County Street Response. He uses his position as a faculty member at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine to pull together resources.

And it’s not just about medicine. Henderson helps young doctors see the people they’re helping as people first. Sometimes, just letting them know someone is listening.

This kind of work has its headaches. Their free clinic was evicted earlier this year. For a while they were treating people out of a parking lot. But they’re moving into a new space this month. So they can keep doing the good work.

On the May 1 episode of Sundial, we spend some time with Henderson, the People’s Doctor. We’re also joined by Emily Eachus, a medical student at UM, who is also the director of research and quality improvement of the Miami Street Medicine team.

On Sundial’s previous episode, Arsimmer McCoy told us about her artist residency with the Everglades National Park and made a memento of Friday night football in Richmond Heights with a poem.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us by emailing us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.