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Tech students to take part in free medical clinic

Tech students work in free medical clinic

Tennessee Tech University students will once again be volunteering at the Free Remote Area Medical Pop-Up Clinic on March 19-20.  This year's two-day clinic event will take place at Cookeville High School located at 2335 N. Washington Ave.

This year's clinic is the 6th clinic hosted by Tech students and their community partners, Cookeville Regional Medical Center Foundation.

In 2014, a pre-med Tech student, Wade Seagrave, asked Janet Coonce, a chemistry instructor, to volunteer to help bring a RAM Clinic to Putnam County and the rural Upper Cumberland region as a co-advisor to the ChemMED club. She agreed and has been volunteering her time since. It took two years to get all the required community commitments to bring the first RAM Clinic to Cookeville High School in 2016.

McCall Price, a senior biochemistry and microbiology major from Chattanooga, serves as lead of the Upper Cumberland Community Host Group in association with RAM. She got involved with RAM her freshman year after attending a CHEM Med club meeting. She served as a host group member her freshman and sophomore years and became the hospitality lead her junior year. 

“The Upper Cumberland Community Host Group is the only student-run host group associated with Remote Area Medical. While we do receive outside support from individuals such as John Bell (CRMC Foundation) and Janet Coonce, the everyday work and scheduling of the clinic is done by students at Tennessee Tech who are interested in serving their community in need,” Price said.  

Price is joined by other Tech students Emma Gunnells, from Athens, as the public relations lead;  Alex Stovall, from McMinnville, as the hospitality lead; Braden Hammer, from Lebanon, as the recruitment lead; Jack Wiggins, from Cookeville, as the parking lot chair; and Cole Murray, from Smith County, as the fundraising lead. 

The RAM clinic needs volunteers Friday for setup and Sunday. Price said they can use more doctors also, especially dentists and optometrists. Volunteers do a range of things from checking patients in, to assisting dentists, to working in the parking lot. 

The yearly clinic in Cookeville consistently sees a crowd of people utilizing its services. 

Last year's event saw 550 individuals served at an estimated value of care of $295,000 and utilized 346 volunteers, according to Coonce. 

RAM is a major nonprofit organization which has its headquarters in Rockford, Tennessee.  It operates pop-up clinics delivering free dental, vision and medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals. Since RAM was founded in 1985, nearly 173,000 volunteers – composed of licensed dental, vision and medical professionals, as well as general support staff – have treated more than 863,000 individuals delivering $174 million worth of free healthcare services. 

The patient parking lot will open no later than 12:01 a.m. on the first night of the event and remain open. As patients arrive at the parking lot, they will be provided with additional information regarding clinic opening processes and next steps. Clinic doors typically open at 6 a.m.

To volunteer for this year's clinic visit Remote Area Medical at ramusa.org.

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