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UofL dental and medical community provide health care in eastern Kentucky

by Julie Heflin last modified Jun 17, 2010 03:38 PM

June 17, 2010

            LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than 150 University of Louisville faculty, staff, students and alumni are volunteering June 19-20, providing residents in and around Pikeville, Ky., free dental and medical care. The project is part of the Remote Area Medical (RAM), a non-profit organization that serves people in remote areas of the United States and around the world.


Under the supervision of UofL School of Dentistry faculty, members of the Kentucky Board of Dentistry and the Kentucky Dental Association, students will perform a variety of dental care including extractions, fillings, dentures services and cleanings. In collaboration with Pikeville Medical Center, School of Dentistry Dean John Sauk and faculty member Brian Shumway, D.D.S., will perform oral cancer screenings, new to this year’s mission. UofL alumnus and Pikeville dentist William Collins, D.M.D., is one of the Pikeville RAM organizers.


            This isn’t the first time several UofL dental students have volunteered for a Remote Area Medical event. During the last year, a core group of six traveled to five other rural areas of Kentucky and Tennessee to offer free dental care through RAM. These six students have since formed the UofL School of Dentistry (ULSD) student chapter of RAM. About 40 students have since joined the organization to take part in these events.


“It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, which is why I am so passionate about seeing other students get involved with RAM,” said Caroline Curtis, ULSD RAM founder.


Curtis and several other experienced RAM students will interact with a small group of New York teens who founded the non-profit organization, One is Greater than None, These teens have donated money to the Pikeville RAM, and this will be their first experience volunteering at one of these events. They are expected to help seat patients, assist with paperwork, serve as runners and shadow dental students.


Nearly 100 public health professionals with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will also help staff the clinics. This will serve as a training exercise for the Corps, which is looking at the Pikeville RAM event as a possible model, because of the high standard of care and excellent organization.


This two-day event will represent a microcosm of the crisis in the U.S. with regard to the uninsured and underinsured population and their need for, and access to, health care. In addition to dental, other types of care provided will include screenings for cholesterol, diabetes & cardiovascular disease; breast, cervical & prostate exams; a variety of health education including diabetes management; autism screenings; and eye exams & eye glasses. UofL pediatrician Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., will screen children.


About 1200 people are expected to turn out  -- and even camp out overnight -- in order to seek free medical, dental and vision care. This is the third RAM event in Pikeville.


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