hr swvahealth RAM 5 (copy)

Rebecca Wood, a volunteer at the RAM Clinic in Lee County, makes lenses to fit frames for a client waiting for new glasses. Vision has become nearly as sought after as dental care at RAM clinics. The glasses take about an hour to make, so some people visit the dentist or see a physician or nurse practitioner while they wait. RAM, in partnership with The Health Wagon, holds its largest clinic each June on the Wise County Fairgrounds. It is looking for dental, vision and medical volunteers.

Remote Area Medical is preparing for its big mobile clinic in June in Wise County and is looking for dental, vision and medical professionals to volunteer.

RAM spokesman Robert Lambert said the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia this year is not expected to decrease the number of people seeking the free services.

“The primary reason for this is because Medicaid doesn't cover vision or dental services for adults in Virginia and these are the two most requested services at RAM clinics,” he said. “We also expect that many people will still rely on RAM and The Health Wagon for medical care, as there is a lack of facilities and providers in far southwest Virginia, so even if people are able to get enrolled into Medicaid, they may not have a provider with available appointments in their area.”

The RAM clinic at the Wise County Fairgrounds will take place June 28-30. Services will include dental cleanings, fillings and extractions; eye exams, prescriptions and glasses made on site; mental health services; osteopathic manipulation service; chiropractic services; mammograms, chest x-rays, cancer screenings and general exams.

Other services include a legal clinic, free clothing, shoes and food.

All services are free and no ID is required. RAM said last year the clinic provided $700,000 worth of free care to 1,350.

Volunteers are still needed. For information, go to or call 865-579-1530.

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Luanne Rife writes about the businesses, policies, discoveries and inventions that affect the health of people living in southwestern Virginia.

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