On The Spot Aid, Inc is guided by a committed group of volunteers who have decades of experience in a variety of medical fields. All of them have an intimate understanding of the needs of the homeless community, the medical community, and bridging the gap between them.
I have lived in Sarasota County for 18 years. My Associate Degree in Nursing was earned in Syracuse NY in 2001 and I began working in the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Rooms. In 2016 I earned my Bachelors in the Science of Nursing and worked in public health for the State of Florida. A common theme in my life has been “with great privilege comes great responsibility”. I started working with the homeless population in the early 1990’s in Bridgeport CT, as well as Philadelphia PA, West Palm Beach FL, Syracuse NY and Port Charlotte, FL. The ability to combine my medical knowledge and skills with a population that has always been important to me makes On The Spot Aid, Inc a natural partnership of privilege and responsibility.
I came to street medicine from the other side of the tracks. For years I worked in the health insurance field, culminating with a role as Executive Director of a Health plan serving several western states. I spent a good deal of frustrating time at the local, state and Federal levels lobbying for various healthcare measures. We have so many resources and dollars in a broken system, and too many people are living on the margins with no access to medical care, except at the most expensive places; the emergency department or the prison system. My inability to effect change on the policy side of the equation drove me to school to become an EMT, and then a nationally certified paramedic. Eleanor Roosevelt advised, “...do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”.., and that has become my north star, and the driving force behind providing basic medical care to those facing homelessness in our community. We may not change the entire system, but for today, On The Spot Aid, Inc can help people where they are with what we have.
Volunteering and public service have always been important to me. I began as a hospital volunteer in high school and then proceeded to nursing school. A Masters in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing increased my commitment to under served populations. At that time, I began my involvement with individuals who were without a home though Interfaith Hospitality Network, the precursor of Family Promise. While teaching at Rutgers University, my community service was to provide health education, screening and healthcare at a day center for the Camden homeless population. I also served on the Red Cross Board of Directors in my community and was active in numerous professional nursing and education organizations and honor societies. Since retiring to Florida, I have been on the board of Venice Interfaith Community Association and have served as a member of the South Venice Beach Endowment Trust. It is an honor to serve on the Board of On the Spot Aid Inc as I strongly believe that all individuals are entitled to accessible, affordable health care provided with dignity and compassion.
We are happy to announce that Brad Birky joined our Board of Directors in December. Brad holds degrees in both Computer Science and Culinary Arts. Currently a professional Non-Profit Consultant, Brad was the co-founder of S.A.M.E Café (So All May Eat) in Denver, CO, which he and Libby (wife and partner) operated for 11 years. Since then, Brad has been working as a
Consultant, helping other non-profits nationwide work and serve more efficiently, organize HR practices and creating employee manuals. In addition to his expertise both behind the computer and the counter, Brad has traveled to 47 States and parts of Canada visiting and researching community cafes. Brad is also a trained athlete has competed in both the 2014 Ironman in Boulder, Co and the Boston Marathon in 2012. We deeply appreciate his thoughtful demeanor and excellent leadership!
In January we were equally excited for David Doerr to be elected as a Director. David brings a wealth of experience and wisdom both from a healthcare professional, as a Radiology Technician, and many years of hospital administration. Prior to his healthcare career, David served in the U.S Army, and earned the distinction of serving on the Presidential Honor Guard in Washington, DC. David has provided leadership for many boards as both Director and Chairman, including the American Hospital Association, Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club, and was the recipient of the Paul Harris Community Service Award from the Terre Haute Rotary Club. David credits his wife Char (also a great supporter of OTS!) and his family for their support and a great measure of his success. In addition to his discernment and quick analysis, David’s golf game is notoriously great. We are thankful to have found the perfect fit for our needs as a Board of Directors!
Working to improve the lives of all citizens has been the driver in my years as a public health registered nurse. It has been a privilege to serve in various positions in six health departments across two countries. Thirty-six years of experience in Public Health managing and expanding programs, supervising and developing staff, and anticipating the future needs of clients, staff, organizations and community will inform my participation on the Board of On the Spot Aid, Inc. I believe that all lives are valuable and important to the heart of each community. By serving on the Board there is an opportunity to strengthen the lives of our vulnerable homeless population.