RAM clinic to return to Northeast Tennessee in November

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Aug 5, 2019 at 6:47 PM

According to U.S. Census data, about 10% of Washington County residents lack basic health insurance coverage, and the county’s poverty rate is 14.9% — nearly 3% more than the national average. 

To help serve uninsured patients throughout the region, Remote Area Medical announced Monday the humanitarian medical organization will return to Gray’s Appalachian Fairgrounds for its third year from Nov. 1-3 to provide free dental, vision and medical care to underserved residents. 

At a Monday press conference, RAM CEO Jeff Eastman reflected on the legacy of Stan Brock, the founder of RAM who died last year. Eastman said he hopes to continue his legacy of rallying “neighbors helping neighbors.”

“Stan was the greatest humanitarian that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting,” he said, discussing his life’s work of providing free health care to those in some of the world's most impoverished regions.

“He was an amazing individual. He was always at it, and he cared about everybody everywhere.”

Last year, the free clinic served about 800 people by providing nearly $560,000 in free medical care. This year, RAM expects to serve 800 to 1,000 patients. Services will include dental cleanings, fillings, extractions, X-rays, eye exams, glaucoma testing, women’s health exams, general exams and more.

The event, held in partnership with Appalachian Mountain Project Access, serves patients on a first-come, first-serve basis. The clinic parking lot will be open no later than midnight on Friday, and ticket distribution begins at 3 a.m. Patients will be seen in chronological order when the doors open at 6 a.m., according to Project Access Director Brooks Blair. 

Carolyn Sliger from the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine said this will be her 25th year joining other ETSU and community volunteers at the clinic. 

“I hope everybody can get out there and volunteer,” she said. “It really makes a difference to these folks, and it’s exciting to see them get a set of glasses and be able to see, be out of pain when they have their teeth pulled and of course, the medical things we do here. It’s incredible.” 

For more information about the clinic and how to volunteer, visit www.ramusa.org or call 865-579-1530. 

RAM Clinic at a glance: 

– About 800 uninsured patients served last year, 1,000 expected this year. 

– Nearly $560,000 worth of free health care last year. 

– The clinic will be held from Nov. 1-3. 

– The clinic will provide several free dental, medical and vision services.