Local leaders say they obtained valuable advice while attending an international symposium in Salt Lake City that will benefit Pasco County’s mobile medical care unit.

Commissioner Pat Mulieri, who paid her own way to the September meeting in Utah, met Jim Withers, the Pittsburgh physician regarded as the “father of street medicine” programs for homeless people.

“He is truly my hero,” Mulieri said. “He was the catalyst for (the Pasco) program. He has been working with street people since 1992. His enthusiasm, caring and dedication has not wavered.”

Shanna Shea, a case manager for the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender’s Office, is helping coordinate the mobile medical van from the West Pasco Government Center.

“I think the most impressive part in Salt Lake City … is the collaboration of agencies,” Shea said. Three agencies there had applied together for a grant. The trio of groups coordinates referrals of clients.

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