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COVID-19 pandemic puts RAM event in jeopardy

STAFF • Jun 17, 2020 at 3:00 PM

The Community Host Group and the 2020 Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic planning committee are seeking input that will impact whether the Appalachian Highlands region will have a clinic this year.

The clinic is traditionally held the first weekend of November at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray. This year’s clinic is set to be held Nov. 5-7. Project Access is the local Community Host Group for the RAM clinic in Gray. With uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, they, along with the planning committee, are asking local dental, vision and medical providers to take a short survey to gauge potential participation.

“The survey is six questions and should take less than five minutes to complete. This will help us decide if we can host the clinic in 2020,” said Brooks Blair, executive director of Project Access.

The survey can be found at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2LDY7T2 as well as on the Project Access website: www.projectaccesseasttn.org.

Currently, the Gray clinic sees very little participation from local providers and relies on ETSU, out-of-state schools and other professional volunteers. With schools altering their schedules and policies, it is uncertain if there will be any participation from them this year. If there is little or no interest from local providers, the clinic may be postponed until next year. That could be devastating to a region where so many health fairs and clinics have already been postponed.

“We have enjoyed being the Community Host Group for the RAM clinic for the past four years. Each year, the three-day event provides needed services to over 750 participants, dental being the greatest need. Without this clinic, these folks will have to wait another year for these services. During that time, their health and well-being is likely to decline.” Blair said.

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