Hughes & Coleman Hometown Hero: Dr. Brian Humble
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - According to the Whitehouse, the number of homeless in the US is estimated to be around 552,830 people, with even more living in poverty. Lacking the means and ability to get medical treatment puts these individuals and families can negatively impact health and increase the cost of care.
People that are unable to obtain the care they need may have more preventable complications and hospitalizations.
Dr. Brian Humble is passionate about serving the underserved, especially the homeless and those dealing with addictions. He once ran the House of Refuge in Russellville and helps support his parents’ ministry called Agape.
His career in medicine started in nursing as he worked nights to support his family and education at Vanderbilt Medical School. After school, he served with the 1st Marine Division on active duty for five years. Since then, he has returned to Kentucky where he practices Internal Medicine.
Dr. Humble’s work with the homeless was inspired by a lecture by Jim Withers who started a homeless program in Pittsburgh.
At the time, HOTEL INC. was starting a street medicine program and he was able to jump right in.
Nine years later, Dr. Humble is still hard at work for those in need.
“I saw a need and want to contribute to help in that need,” he said.
The street medicine program sees volunteers going out to homeless encampments, treating wounds and other ailments. There is also a clinic set up once a week at the HOTEL INC building on Boat Landing Road in Bowling Green.
“People will come to see him who haven’t been to a doctor in maybe a year,” said Rebecca Troxell, a Navigator for HOTEL INC., ”they’ll come to talk to him because he just makes everyone feel very comfortable.”
Seeking and obtaining medical care can be difficult for the homeless and impoverished. Not only are there barriers such as transportation and cost, but there is also a barrier to interacting with the rest of society.
“If you think about it, if you haven’t bathed, you’re embarrassed, you feel outcast,” Humble said, “Walking into a nice clean doctor’s office is sometimes can be anxiety provoking.”
He and his team do everything they can to maintain the privacy and dignity of their patients when treating them.
They have medical screens that they set up when in the encampments. When it is possible, he likes for them to show up at the clinic so that they are in a nice warm place to be examined and have a conversation.
The goal of HOTEL INC is to reintegrate the homeless into society and getting them medical help is an integral part of that process. Once Dr. Humble sees a patient, the next step is to get them on Medicaid and start the process of getting them housed.
“The bottom line is you have to get out to the streets to see a lot of these folks,” Humble said, “Just having a clinic is not the answer, it’s multi-faceted.”
The source of his motivation and drive can be found in his faith.
“Jesus said if you do unto the least of these, you’ve done unto me,” Dr. Humble said, “so this is how I practice my faith.”
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