On a recent Friday in November, a tractor trailer pulled up to Richmond County Elementary School and volunteers began unloading medical equipment and supplies to fulfill a 48-hour mission to provide as much free health care as possible. Remote Area Medical (RAM)—a major nonprofit of free pop-up clinics—coordinated with Rappahannock Community College (RCC) and the elementary school and began work setting up the clinic.
Volunteers carted dental supplies and vision equipment, sheets and blankets, medical supplies, and countless other items into the school. They transformed the gymnasium into a 25-unit dental clinic, complete with space for its x-ray team. Hallways became waiting areas, classrooms became exam rooms, vaccine clinics, a food pantry, and clothing and toy giveaway areas, even an area to make eyeglasses.
The pop-up clinics see patients on a first-come, first-served basis and allow registration to begin at midnight on Friday. The first patients are called in at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. RCC Chef Hatley Bright and instructor Wendy Hyde were on site all weekend to feed the volunteers and provide snacks and to-go lunches for the patients.
This year’s Warsaw RAM clinic was led by Stacie Wind, Program Director of the Rappahannock Area Health Education Center (RAHEC) which is located at RCC. “The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula have very high rates of need, especially for medical and dental treatments,” said Wind. “Bringing RAM to the area provides the necessary services for uninsured or underinsured, and no ID is required to receive treatment.”
It takes a village to implement an event of this magnitude, and Wind’s team worked tirelessly to seek businesses, nonprofits, churches, governmental organizations, and individuals who would donate funds, food or time, and sometimes all three, in addition to creating awareness for potential patients, and organizing everything from securing providers to managing the clinic layout.
Nursing, medical, and dental students from RCC, William and Mary, UVA, Duke, Penn State and other schools played an important role. While some students operated in the logistical space, others were on the front lines of treatment, working triage including checking blood pressures, temperatures, blood glucose levels, and conducting medical history interviews before sending a patient to receive care. “It was a great way to go out in the field and put our nursing skills to use,” said one nursing student.
By midday Sunday, when all those waiting had received treatment, 211 people had received over $100,000 in free medical, dental, and vision services. More than 450 volunteers, some local, others travelling from out-of-state, helped make this RAM clinic a success.
“We’re pleased with the amount of patients served and services rendered,” said Wind. “We haven’t hosted a clinic since 2019 due to the pandemic but we’ve learned a lot and plan a bigger and better clinic next fall.”
In addition to numerous donations by individuals, RCC would like to thank the following partners who helped make RAM free clinic successful:
Anthem Health Keepers
Blue Ridge Bank
Bourne & Sons Janitorial
Buckler Bread Inc.
Clements Tent Rentals, Inc.
Long Metalwork & Machine Inc.
Lynn Marine Construction, Inc.
Northern Neck Lumber
PET Dairy (Robert Scott III)
River City Golf Carts
River Party Company
Schmidt Baking Co.
VCU Health Tappahannock
Beale Memorial Church
Bethany Baptist Church
Grace Episcopal Church
Milden Presbyterian Church
Rappahannock Church of Christ
Northumberland County Board of Supervisors
Richmond County Department of Emergency Services
Richmond County Fire Department
Three Rivers Health District
Town of Warsaw
Town of Warsaw Police Department
Northern Neck News
Abingdon Ruritan Club
Callao Volunteer Fire Department
Callao Moose Lodge
Callao Women of the Moose
Kiwanis Club of the Northern Neck
Northumberland County Republican Committee
Richmond County Public Library
Tappahannock Moose Lodge
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Warsaw-Bauman Masonic Lodge
Westmoreland Masonic Lodge
Duke RAM Chapter
Penn State RAM Chapter
Randolph Macon Nursing students
Rappahannock Community College
Richmond County Public Schools
Southern Virginia University students
University of Buffalo Dental students
UVA Medical Students
William and Mary RAM Chapter
About Remote Area Medical: RAM is a major nonprofit organization that operates pop-up clinics delivering free, quality, dental, vision, and medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals who do not have access to or cannot afford a doctor. Since RAM was founded in 1985, more than 173,000 volunteers –comprised of licensed dental, vision, and medical professionals, as well as general support staff — have treated more than 863,000 individuals delivering $174 million worth of free healthcare services. For media inquiries about the upcoming clinic please email email@example.com.
About RAHEC: Rappahannock Area Health Education Center’s mission is to recruit, train, and retain health professionals by connecting students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better care.