By Bill Brewer
Remote Area Medical, which is headquartered in the Rockford community between Maryville and Knoxville, serves patients in its own front yard as well as in communities across the country and in neighboring countries.
For the third consecutive year, RAM held a free clinic at the Ladies of Charity facility in Knoxville that provided dental and vision services to more than 250 people served by the Ladies of Charity in Knoxville’s center city.
The Ladies of Charity RAM clinic does not offer medical services.
In 2019, Remote Area Medical has conducted or will conduct free clinics in 12 Tennessee communities, eight of them in East Tennessee.
Susan Unbehaun, executive director of the Ladies of Charity in Knoxville, said the RAM clinic is attracting more patients and volunteers each year. The Ladies of Charity wants Remote Area Medical to be an annual service it provides.
“We more than doubled our volunteers from previous years. Services grew 8 percent with patients. The value of services was 32 percent higher than in 2017 at $113,636, which accounts for 96 percent of the patients. We had 257 patients, of which 118 received glasses,” Mrs. Unbehaun said, noting that 96 percent of the people treated at the RAM clinic were adults.
A team of volunteer dentists and dental assistants set up examination stations in the upstairs meeting area of the Ladies of Charity building while a team of eye doctors set up treatment stations in the downstairs distribution center. A mobile vision van was parked just outside the Ladies of Charity building to make eyeglasses on site for patients.
Members of Knights of Columbus Council 16523 at Holy Ghost Church prepared breakfast and lunch meals for the RAM clinic volunteers and patients.
“I had so many patients come up to me and thank me for the services we provide. This is the only time that they can receive dental and vision help,” Mrs. Unbehaun said.
“This day involved so many volunteers: the professional clinical staff of dentists and optometrists and their assistants, the Lions Club volunteers, and the Holy Ghost Knights of Columbus, our sponsors, and all the volunteers who helped make this event a success.”