By Vivian Bui


This year marks the ten year anniversary of Doctors Without Walls–Santa Barbara Street Medicine. Ten years later, DWW–SBSM has expanded the way healthcare is directly delivered to the most vulnerable people in the community of Santa Barbara. DWW–SBSM is grateful to our volunteers and to the wonderful partners that have helped us grow to the organization that we are today; without you, progress would not have been possible.


2005 DWW’s vision – Doctors Without Wall a few individuals with a few backpacks on the streets of Isla Vista. The nonprofit was founded by family practice physician Noemi “Mimi” Doohan, MD, PhD. She had a vision to create a system to provide care to the most vulnerable patients of Santa Barbara.


2006 Downtown SB Street Team – Dr. Bob Gaines, Dr. Mimi Doohan, Jennifer Ferraez, and Jason Tarman comprised the first DWW–SBSM team.


2008 International Street Institute affiliation – This important Street Medicine affiliation allows us to study and implement best-practices, network globally, and advocate for those we serve. The organization’s name was changed from DWW to Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine (DWW-SBSM) to emphasize our connection with the international street medicine movement.


April 2008 DWW formally affiliated with Direct Relief International (DRI) – DRI provides supportive services for DWW-SBSM including acting as the fiscal agent. DWW-SBSM was granted State of California Non-profit corporate Status in May 2008 and in November 2008 was granted 501(c)3 tax exempt status.


April 2008 Pershing Parking Clinic established – Doctors Without Walls teamed up with Uffizi Order/Uffizi Project/SBACT at Pershing Park in 2008. Together, DWW and SBCT brought free medical care and meals to homeless individuals, families, and those who are impoverished in Santa Barbara.


2010 – DWW went back to its roots. We restarted our Isla Vista clinic. Later on, this transitioned to Companion Care program.


April 21, 2011 Alameda Park Clinic established – “Annette Pinto, a wonderful community advocate, who herself was experiencing homelessness at the time, let me know that Alameda Park was a gathering point for many people in Santa Barbara who were not served by the Pershing Park clinic.  It was a great example of how important it is for DWW and other organizations to be guided and co-led with community members”. – Crister Brady, former DWW intern


January 2008 DWW held its first underserved medicine seminar at UC Santa Barbara during winter quarter. This course


2008 Women’s Free Homeless Clinic – “We provide a women-only environment for women to feel safe and cared for” – former co-coordinator Katie Dye. On the second, third, and fourth Fridays of every month from 9:30am to 2:00pm, DWW holds an all-women clinic at the Transition House (434 E. Ortega Street). Our Women’s Free Homeless Clinic provides laundry, private showers, feminine hygiene products, and lunch from the Organic Soup Kitchen.


2014 EMR Implemented – The DWW Monitoring, Information, Technology and Evaluation, or MITE, team implemented DWW’s electronic medical record. DWW made the complete transition from paper charts to an electronic medical record. This was a monumental step in the growth of DWW.


2014 – Companion Care started its missions in Isla Vista.


September 13th, 2014 First Glow In the Park – For the first time, DWW lit up Elings Park to gather volunteers and sponsors in for a special evening. All proceed from generous donors benefit services provided by DWW: park clinics, medications, medical supplies, backpacks, etc.


June 16th, 2016 Mobile Medical Van – In 2010, DWW volunteers said that “the hope is to one day have a mobile clinic that can go and meet the homeless where they are on the street.” Our van was made possible by a $65,000 grant from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. This incredible gift enabled us to greatly expand the health-care services it provides to homeless and low-income individuals.


August 13, 2017 First Lompoc Clinic – Thanks to the generously donated van, DWW expanded its clinics to Lompoc County.


Jan 11th, 2017 First Clinic at Housing Authority of the City of SB – The Housing Authority of the City of SB grant is part of the Health Access and Care Coordination (HACC) project, whose mission is to help affordable housing residents, Section 8 residents, and Medical recipients age 65 or older improve their access to healthcare. It does so by bringing together a number of organizations, including DWW, the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, and the New Beginnings Counseling Center.