Last week the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office and Remote Area Medical (RAM) USA, a nonprofit provider of free pop-up clinics, hosted a free 2-day healthcare clinic for those in the Philadelphia area who are uninsured, underinsured, or just off the social and or economic tract. The clinic took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It was revolutionary in that all services were done free on the spot and no I.D. was required. Think of the undocumented, those who don’t wish to give their gender, those who want cofidential HIV/AIDS testing, and those who might not have I.D., just to name a few of the types of people the clinic helped. It was a real lifesaver for many people who have gone without basic and vital medical services during the pandemic.
Among the many services available at the free RAM USA clinic were dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental x-rays, eye exams, glaucoma testing, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, women’s health exams, and general medical exams. Free hypertension counseling, sickle cell information, and COVID-19 vaccines were all available, as well as free take-home colon cancer screening test kits. And there was so much more.
The scope of the clinic was impressive. We are not talking about a simple corner health fair. This endeavor took up almost the entire Pennsylvania Convention Center, with hundreds of doctors, dentists, optometrists and other medical and dental professionals.
RAM brought numerous truckloads of medical tables, dental chairs, and vision equipment (including a lab in a converted truck to make lenses on the spot). For the vision services, each patient would pick out the frame that they felt fit their personality. They weren’t made to feel like it was charity.
As the Sheriff Rochelle Bilal stated during the clinic: “Today is epic. Along with our Partners RAM USA, DentMed, Independence Blue Cross Foundation and elected officials like Senator Sherif Street all who saw the vision so that people get the medical, Dental and Vision services they need, and it’s all free.”
Sherif Bilial also stated “I work out of the box,” and this is proof of that. Any of us who have spoken for the disenfranchised saw a dream come true of obtaining basic healthcare.
After speaking to a couple of members of the LGBT community waiting for various services I asked RAM USA marketing manager Poppy Green if he was surprised. He remarked that “that’s why we exist, to serve all communities who are in need.”
Heather Major, executive director of Independence Blue Cross Foundation who funded a good portion of the two day Clinic stated it well when she said “opportunities like this allow great people to come together to meet the needs for the greater good.”