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School of Medicine Greenville

Community health clinic provided medical, dental and vision services

During two days, 258 patients attended a free community clinic, held recently at Greer High School. The clinic was run by Remote Area Medical (RAM)®, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based nonprofit that provides free, quality healthcare to those in need, and organized by a volunteer team of medical students at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville (SOMG). 

Remote Area Medical is a non-profit organization that aims to “prevent pain and alleviate suffering” in communities by offering weekend-long pop-up clinics, where patients can receive medical, dental, and vision services absolutely free of charge. To make the clinic a reality, 20 first and second year medical students at SOMG teamed up with the Remote Area Medical organization.  

“At the clinic on March 18th and 19th, we helped to provide medical, dental, and vision services to anyone in attendance, completely free of charge,” said Bo Layton, a second-year SOMG medical student and community host group leader for the Greer clinic. “Some of these services include dental cleanings, fillings, and extractions, yearly medical screenings, women’s health and pediatric services, eye exams, and glasses made on site.” Providers at the two-day event were also able to offer joint injections and MSK/back pain evaluations, as well as specialty care for skin lesions. Throughout the weekend, volunteers served 258 patients (214 adults and 44 children) and offered $120,862 worth of care. Patients came from primarily South Carolina, but also from Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Between Saturday and Sunday, providers at the community clinic made 130 pairs of glasses, performed 98 dental extractions, 55 fillings, and 48 dental cleanings, and performed 107 medical exams.

“In cooperation with many outstanding community resources, we are making efforts to get as many patients as possible connected to long-term primary and specialty care after the clinic,” said Layton.  

The clinic was the first full-scale RAM clinic held in South Carolina (two smaller disaster clinics were held in 2016), and SOMG medical-student volunteers are planning to make it an ongoing event, organized annually by first- and second-year medical students at SOMG.

“After organizing this first clinic this year, we see this as a unique opportunity for each new first and second-year class at our school to take ownership in organizing the clinic in years to come,” said Layton. “Our plan is to make RAM a sustainable operation each year in our community and are actively seeking out students at SOMG interested in getting involved to plan next year's clinic.” 
*This event was not sponsored or promoted by the School District of Greenville County. This event was held at Greer High School in accordance with the rental procedures of the School District that allows nonprofit organizations the opportunity to use School District facilities when not in use for school operations. 

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