CNN names 'undercover physician' and orthopedic surgeon Top Heroes of 2015

After nominations closed in September, CNN has released its list of the Top 10 Heroes of 2015. Each of the heroes will receive $10,000 and be recognized at the globally broadcast "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" program on Dec. 6.

This year, two physicians have made the list: one an "undercover doctor for the homeless" and the other a "'battering ram' for patients.'"

Here are the two physicians who made the list.

1. Jim Withers, MD, has been walking the streets of Pittsburgh for 23 years, offering free healthcare services to the homeless.

To make a connection with his patients, Dr. Withers seeks them out: he wanders under bridges and through abandoned buildings dressed liked a homeless person to gain their trust.

"When I started, I was actually really shocked how ill people were on the street," said Dr. Withers. "It was like going to a third-world country."

His mission transformed into a citywide program called Operation Safety Net, which has treated over 10,000 patients since 1992. The group, which also runs a mobile medical van and drop-in centers, also helps the homeless get insurance and housing.

In addition, Dr. Withers started Street Medicine Institute, a nonprofit organization that helps communities around the world establish street medicine programs.

2. Daniel Ivankovich, MD, brings aid to people living in Chicago's most underserved communities.

An orthopedic surgeon, he saw numerous under- and uninsured patients in Chicago who were victims of violent crimes. They were put on wait lists while their injuries worsened. "I just said, 'Enough is enough,'" Dr. Ivankovich recalled.

In 2010, he co-founded OnePatient Global Health Initiative, a nonprofit that treats orthopedic conditions in underserved populations regardless of ability to pay. The program has benefited more than 100,000 individuals. Dr. Ivankovich now runs three clinics in Chicago where he performs over 600 surgeries per year.

"I know I can't fix everybody," he said. "My goal is to be the battering ram to help break down the barriers to get these patients the care and the resources they need."

Via a voting process, only one hero will be recognized as CNN's Hero of the Year, receiving a grand prize of $100,000 to further his or her work as well as free organizational training from the Annenberg Foundation. Viewers can vote for their favorite hero of the year through Nov. 15.

Click here to learn more about the heroes, and click here to vote for one of these physicians or any of the other heroes.

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