Free touring medical clinic seeks local volunteers

The Oklahoman — April 8, 2010

Free touring medical clinic seeks local volunteers

By Carla Hinton
The Oklahoman
Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

A volunteer health care organization is teaming up with local health care professionals to offer free dental, vision and general medical care July 9-11 at State Fair Park.

Remote Area Medical expects to treat about 2,000 Oklahomans at the event, Tres Savage, the group’s Oklahoma coordinator, said Wednesday.

Savage and other leaders held a news conference Wednesday at Crossings Community Clinic to discuss the free event.

He said Oklahoma will be the sixth state to benefit from Remote Area Medical’s "Reach Across America” program. Remote Area Medical, based in Knoxville, Tenn., was founded by Stan Brock in 1985 to air-drop supplies and medical care to remote areas of Central and South America. Brock is perhaps best known as co-star of the NBC television series "Wild Kingdom.”

Savage said the volunteer medical organization typically teams up with local medical volunteers to provide free health care on a first-come, first-served basis. He said the Oklahoma initiative will follow a similar pattern. Doctors, dentists and other medical personnel are needed to serve as volunteers.

They will be joined by medical professionals from other states who have participated in a Remote Area Medical initiative.

Savage said meals for all clinic volunteers will be provided in partnership with Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief.

Finding continued help

Dr. Al Moorad, medical director of the Integris Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Network, said many Oklahomans have health problems related to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. but no way to pay for proper medical care.

Moorad said he is hoping to see at least 1,000 Oklahoma doctors and other health care professionals volunteer to help with the event.

"I’ve had a wonderful practice here all my life. You feel you need to give back to your community,” Moorad said. "It is a moral duty for us as physicians to give back.”

Savage said one goal of the initiative will be to connect people who are treated during the three-day event to ongoing medical care.

Pam Cross, project director of the Health Alliance for the Uninsured, said the free medical event will help raise awareness that there are many people in need in the community.

"I appreciate what the Remote Area Medical founder says: ‘It’s (a free health care event) not a solution. It is a symptom of the health care crisis,’” Cross said. "People will line up hours ahead of time to receive health care.”


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