More than a thousand people came to the 1,000th free clinic offered by Remote Area Medical on a cold Feb. 3 morning in Knoxville, Tennessee, where volunteers ― including 10 students from Western Carolina University’s School of Nursing ― provided them with medical, dental and vision care. “These students from community mental health nursing practicum class were up at 4 a.m. to take part in the clinical services,” said Elizabeth Sexton, WCU assistant professor of nursing and an excursion leader. “They got exposure to it all, from triaging patients, giving flu shots to helping in the dental and vision areas. They also got to see the big picture. For whatever reason, whether lack of health insurance, lack of resources, inadequate healthy nutrition, poor dental hygiene or substance abuse, the needy individuals were there and seeking help for dental, vision and medical problems, and so appreciative to receive it.” Since 1985, Remote Area Medical, a nonprofit organization based in Rockford, Tennessee, has held mobile clinics for uninsured and underserved families and individuals, assisted by health care professionals and students. It has a mission to prevent pain and alleviate suffering and to enhance quality of life through the delivery of competent and compassionate health care to those who are impoverished, isolated and underserved in the U.S. The group was founded by Stan Brock, best known as a host alongside Marlin Perkins and sometimes Jim Fowler on the TV nature show “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” from 1968 to 1974.
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