Aug. 29-Sept. 12, 2003
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U.S. News ranks U.Va. No. 1 public
William Pease to lead U.Va.’s marching band
Headlines @ U.Va.
For Dom Starsia, the summer of his content

ACC looks beyond athletics with Traveling Scholars Program

‘A great ride’ comes to a smooth landing
Reynolds puts love of numbers to work for University
New orthopaedic surgery chair focuses on today’s broken bones, tomorrow’s new legs
Breast Care Center offers high-tech health, warm environment
Appalachian clinic draws record crowd
Positive spin keeps wheels turning at Parking & Transportation
Bus schedule, escort changes enhance safety
Visa problems take toll on international students
Summer session office losing longtime leader
From bugs to satellites: A symposium on the limits of landscape
McCormick Observatory offers ‘Mars Mania’
All moved in
Pluses and minuses fill balance sheet of Luckson Hove’s life
Transfer students get early start at building community
Appalachian clinic draws record crowd
Lending a hand at the RAM clinic were, left to right, U.Va. board member William Crutchfield, Dr. Karen Rheuban of U.Va.’s Health System, Gov. Mark Warner, and Dr. Tim Garson and Ed Howell, who head the Health System.
Courtesy of the Health System
Lending a hand at the RAM clinic were, left to right, U.Va. board member William Crutchfield, Dr. Karen Rheuban of U.Va.’s Health System, Gov. Mark Warner, and Dr. Tim Garson and Ed Howell, who head the Health System.

By Dan Heuchert

Most don’t have high school diplomas. Many don’t have telephones. More don’t have transportation. A Third World country?

No, these conditions prevail just a six-hour drive from Charlottesville in Southwest Virginia, where a 72-person U.Va. Health System team participated last month in the annual, free health-care clinic.

Over the weekend of July 25-27, the U.Va. health-care providers were among the volunteers who provided free health, dental and vision care for 4,749 people at the Virginia-Kentucky fairgrounds in Wise County, according to Claudette Dalton, U.Va.’s assistant dean of community-based medicine, who coordinates U.Va.’s efforts.

Southwest Virginia is a medically underserved region. Dalton said that while many of those seen at the clinic are employed, they don’t have health insurance and don’t earn enough to take care of themselves.

“The people there are truly tough,” Dalton said. “Their economic margin is so thin. Often they have a choice between paying their rent or paying for medical care. They’ll always pay the rent.”

After just four years, the annual clinic is the largest in the world organized under the auspices of the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps, according to the international organization’s Web site (www.ramusa.org). In all, nearly 1,000 volunteers provided more than $650,000 worth of care — at no charge — over 2 1/2 days.

The first RAM clinic, held in 2000 at the Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise, provided only vision and dental care. The U.Va. Health System sent a 20-member delegation to the second clinic in 2001; after a weekend spent working under tents in the pouring rain, the volunteers returned with a better idea of what help was needed, Dalton said.

“We do a little more every year,” Dalton said.

This year, U.Va. sent general medicine, women’s health, ear-nose-throat, gastrointestinal, social work, laboratory and pharmacy teams. The Health System also sent mobile mammography, ultrasound and telemedicine units, Dalton said.

She said staffing the RAM clinic is a team effort. Dentists and vision-care experts from around the state volunteer their services. U.Va.’s College at Wise provides housing and food. Sister Bernadette Kenny, a Catholic nun and nurse practitioner, coordinates the logistical arrangements in Wise. The U.Va. Health System provides equipment, supplies, funds and personnel.


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