California Psychiatrist Takes To The Streets With 'Rare' Medical Practice

By Logan DeLoye

September 7, 2022

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Photo: Getty Images

California psychiatrist Dr. Shayan Rab has made it his mission to help displaced individuals receive the structure, medicine, and care that they need to heal from mental illnesses and get off of the streets. According to The Los Angeles Times, Rab is apart of a rare street medicine program in which he and his team treat patients on the streets of Los Angeles County. He is one of few Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health psychiatrists that practice this specialty.

Rab works with the Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement program to help treat those with no means to schedule an appointment, or pay for proper transportation to get to a doctors office. Boston Healthcare street psychiatrist Katherine Koh detailed the lack of resources that people experiencing homelessness have to work with when attempting to seek help for mental illnesses.

"I would argue that few populations bear greater psychological burden than homeless people yet given the magnitude, there are very few resources for treating them," Koh shared with The Los Angeles Times.

Not only does Rab treat displaced individuals living off of Skid Row who suffer from disability and substance abuse, but, at 37-years-old, he is the first psychiatrist in the county to take his practice to the streets.

“You are seeing two different versions of the patient,” Rab explained to The Los Angeles Times, “When we work with an individual on the street we see how an individual is living in the community, what the realities of their environment are like.”

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