Waking Up in America: How One Doctor Brings Hope to Those who Need it Most

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Simon & Schuster, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 202 pages

Waking Up in America is the compelling, inspirational autobiography of a man who has emerged as a pioneer in the field of caring for the growing population of impoverished and homeless Americans, and as a force for social change.

Dr. Pedro Josť Greer, the son of Cuban immigrants and the founder of Miami's Camillus Health Concern, has traveled from the trash-littered, drug-infested streets of one of America's toughest neighborhoods to the offices of corporate and political power brokers. Throughout his odyssey he has become known for his tireless efforts to bring health care to society's "untouchables" -- homeless drug addicts, hookers, alcoholics, runaways, or people who have simply lost their way. Many of them are in need of medical care, but all of them are in need of compassion, and "Dr. Joe" dispenses both for free.

As a young intern, Dr. Greer watched helplessly as a homeless, nameless man died of a curable illness -- curable if one can get the treatment that had eluded this patient. Galvanized by this incident, and convinced of a need to bring basic health care to those who are not part of "the system," he founded the Camillus Health Concern. Once a one-room storefront operation in Miami's Overtown district, Camillus has now grown into a clinic treating more than 10,000 indigent men, women, and children each year. At the same time, he has become an active and outspoken critic of our current system of health care and welfare reform.

Waking up in America is not only Dr. Joe's story, it also holds the emotion-filled stories of the people whose lives he has changed forever. His message is simple: stop thinking of members of the underclass as "screwups" and start thinking of them as human beings. By putting a human face on poverty -- by gently urging us to take responsibility through simply offering a kind word or a smile, instead of always looking the other way -- Dr. Greer proves that hope exists for every person, no matter, how dire his or her circumstances.

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WAKING UP IN AMERICA: How One Doctor Brings Hope to Those Who Need It Most

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Inspiring memoirs of a remarkable physician whose dedication to helping the homeless has changed the face of health care in Miami. Winner of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, Greer, aided here by ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Pedro Josť Greer Jr., M.D., is the award-winning founder and volunteer medical director of Miami's Camillus Health Concern, a health care clinic for the poor and homeless, which serves more than ten thousand men, women, and children annually. The winner of numerous honors, including a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grant and the President's Service Award in 1997, Dr. Greer has served as an adviser to both the Bush and the Clinton administrations on health care issues. He holds a diverse number of appointments, ranging from serving as a trustee for the RAND corporation to sitting on the board of directors of Comic Relief. In addition, Dr. Greer is a professor of medicine, a gastroenterologist and hepatologist in private practice, and the former Chief of Gastroenterology at Mercy Hospital, a full-Service hospital in Miami. The son of Cuban immigrants, he grew up in the Caribbean and in Miami.

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