HOSMP Spotlight – Karla Ganley

“Street Medicine has taught me that there’s no such thing as “difficult patients,” only difficult circumstances.”

Karla Ganley
Karla Ganley
– Karla G.

My name is Karla Ganley, and I am the current Executive Director of the UF Homeless Outreach & Street Medicine Program (HOSMP). I joined the program in 2021 and took over as Executive Director in October 2023. Also, I am a 4th year MD-PhD Student. 

As Executive Director, I’ve led our team through a transition to Epic, I’ve expanded our field-based hepatitis C and HIV treatment initiatives, and I’ve strengthened collaboration with key community partners such as Grace Marketplace, Gainesville Fire Rescue, and IDEA Alachua (a syringe services program). This has allowed our team to offer a broader range of services to patients and to deliver these services in a timelier, more coordinated manner. 

My experience with Street Medicine has taught me that there’s no such thing as “difficult patients,” only difficult circumstances. Nearly all of our homeless patients grew up in unfathomably challenging environments and have experienced multiple traumas. Daily, they struggle to obtain necessities such as food, water, and shelter, which is further compounded by the local government’s increasing criminalization of homelessness. Due to this, addressing chronic health conditions must often take second priority. Despite these numerous challenges, the fact that many of our patients have been with us for years and continue to put considerable effort into improving their long-term health is truly amazing. Our patients’ strength and resiliency inspire me to become the best physician/researcher/advocate I can be. 

My work with Street Medicine has prepared me well for my future career serving homeless individuals. I intend to complete medical training in primary care and addiction medicine and to work with unsheltered populations long-term. My PhD is in Sociomedical Anthropology, and my dissertation explores the intersections of urban development, homelessness, and substance use disorders. I can’t imagine a better place to be than with the Street Med team!