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RAM event: Free medical clinic needs your help

Next weekend, Remote Area Medical will be bringing its pop-clinic to the valley for the eighth straight year and members of the local host group committee are urging the public to get involved by donating their time to this life-changing event.

“We are asking for people to sign up as general support volunteers,” Pahrump Host Group member Ryan Muccio said. “We are doing great when it comes to medical and dental professionals but for general support and even vision care, we could really use some more help!”

Remote Area Medical, more commonly known as RAM, is an international nonprofit that provides an array of free medical services to those who need them, regardless of insurance status and with no identification needed. The goal is to assist underserved and underinsured individuals who may otherwise not be able to obtain necessary health care exams and procedures. The clinics offer everything from dental exams, cleanings and fillings to vision exams and prescription eyeglasses, women’s health exams, mental health services, general health screenings and more.

As a nonprofit, RAM depends on the spirit of volunteerism, with all participants in the clinic giving their time free of charge. While medical professionals are imperative to the process, volunteers with no health care experience at all are also key. Without general support volunteers, these clinics simply cannot happen, Muccio remarked.

As for what it takes to be a general support volunteer, Muccio said all it requires is time and the willingness to help.

“We ask for a full day, if possible, from 5:45 a.m. until about 5 p.m. on Saturday and about 3 p.m. on Sunday. The reason is, it’s hard to split shifts with the training that is involved,” Muccio said.

He added that for those who are unable to stand for long periods of time, accommodations will be made, so just about anyone can lend a hand in making someone else’s life a little bit healthier.

Tasks that general support volunteers can tackle include patient and volunteer check-in, as well as assistance with food service, manning the parking lot, acting as interpreters and guiding patients through the clinic to the correct locations for the services they are seeking. General volunteers can also work alongside eye care professionals by assisting with vision services, where they can learn to make eyeglasses. For those who already have blood-borne pathogen training, general support can be offered to those performing dental work too.

The upcoming clinic could also benefit from the expertise of a few more eye care professionals, Muccio noted, with anyone interested in volunteering able to do so easily at RAMUSA.org or by calling 865-579-1530.

When it comes to those who wish to utilize the free services that will be provided, officials with RAM encourage people to arrive as early as possible. The clinic will open at 6 a.m. both days but patients often begin filling the parking lot at midnight the night beforehand.

“Due to time constraints, patients should be prepared to choose between dental and vision services. Medical services are offered in addition to dental or vision services, free to every patient attending the clinic,” a press release from the organization reads. “Services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.”

The Pahrump RAM Clinic will take place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7 and 8 at the Pathways Building on the Pahrump Valley High School campus, at the corner of Calvada Blvd. and Mt. Charleston Drive.

For more information visit RAMUSA.org

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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