Look Out The Window! Downtown Days with Tulane Street Health

Alvarez Spark Innovation Award recipient, Grace Yang, is a second year medical student at the Tulane University School of Medicine. Over the past few months, Grace and her team have been working to expand supply distribution and services at the student-led Tulane Street Health Clinic.

It was 93 degrees outside — a cool afternoon if you’re talking about New Orleans summertime. Even though the humidity always makes it feel hotter, people were still biking, the sidewalks were still busy, and we were just getting started for the day.

Three Tulane Street Health volunteers setting up a tent for clinic!

Every last Wednesday of the month, a team of Tulane medical students, volunteer physicians, social workers, and community harm-reductionists host a drop-in clinic at Duncan Plaza, a large park in between New Orleans City Hall and the Hutchinson Building. We call it the Tulane Street Health (TSH) clinic, with our main goals being 1) providing resources for the downtown community, particularly people who experience housing instability or have substance-use disorders, and 2) helping students engage in a trauma-informed, harm reductionist approach to both medical and nonmedical care.

How the clinic works

Concept diagram of street health clinic. In Duncan Plaza, the Tulane Street Health Clinic consists of a Water/Snack table, a Narcan/Supply table, and four tents: Acacia (STD/STI), Physician, Social Work, and Vaccine tent.
Concept diagram of street health clinic. In Duncan Plaza, the Tulane Street Health Clinic consists of a Water/Snack table, a Narcan/Supply table, and four tents: Acacia (STD/STI), Physician, Social Work, and Vaccine.

If you walk by Duncan Plaza on a clinic day, you’ll see Tulane Street Health set up under four or five E-Z UP tents. TSH is the only Tulane student-run outdoor clinic, meaning that we transport, set up, and tear down our tents and supplies every clinic. People are outside, rain or shine, so we are too. We aim to be as consistent as possible with our clinic schedule; if there’s a weather advisory, we find an alternative to get our supplies in the hands of people who need them.

TSH is a collaboration of free services, including supply distribution, STD/STI testing, vaccine, physician, and social/legal resources. Anyone who walks by is welcome to any of our supplies and services, no questions asked. Our supplies vary from clinic to clinic, but typically include snacks and water, hygiene kits, wound care kits, menstrual supplies, hot/cold weather kits, and socks/underwear. We also hand out Narcan, provide education on how to use it, and are planning on distributing fentanyl test strips in the coming months!




In addition to supply distribution, a large portion of the clinic serves to support the social and medical needs of the downtown community. With the help of volunteer licensed clinical social workers and physicians, TSH provides social work resources and basic medical care such as first aid, blood pressure and glucose screening, consultations, counseling, and health advice. With the help of trained medical students from ACACIA NOLA, Vaccine Krewe, and the Tulane Medicolegal Partnership, TSH provides vaccinations, STD/STI testing, and referrals to Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, a pro bono legal organization.

Lauren and Brett seated next to each other under a green EZ-UP tent with clinic supplies.
Two of the Street Health leaders, Lauren Lavey (Community Liaison) and Brett Muramoto (Budgeting and Inventory Chair)!



What’s in the works

Tulane Street Health Clinic has been operating since Fall 2021, and as of August 2023, we have been reaching over 100 patients each clinic. In addition to ramping up our supplies, our main goals are to 1) increase our clinic to two times per month and 2) consistently distribute supplies with our new mobile backpacking unit. Our backpacking unit, called Tulane Street Health Response, will allow us to extend our supply distribution and services beyond Duncan Plaza with the hopes of making consistent rounds across various parks in the downtown area.

A woman leaning against a box of colorful drawstring bags.
Sage Teasley (Tulane Street Health Response Team Lead) with some premade kits!


As a clinic, we have grown immensely since our first drop-in and understand that there is much more that can be done. As a team, we continually seek avenues to broaden our impact and thank everyone who has supported us in expanding the street medicine landscape in downtown New Orleans. Huge thank you to our advisors Dr. Helen Pope, MD and Dr. Jerry Zifodya, MD MPHTM, community liaisons, B.B. St. Roman and Mary Bonnie, our harm reductionist advisor Mary Beth Campbell, MSPH MPH, Trystereo, the Taylor Center, and our current and previous donors who have made Tulane Street Health possible every month.

Tulane Street Health tents lit up at night.


Read more about Tulane Street Health on their website and Instagram @tulane.street.health.response.