Officials say ‘Thanks’ to RAM

State and federal officials recently gathered to recognize the teamwork that made the Remote Area Medical clinic at Heritage High School a success.

The RAM clinic happened on March 19 and 20 at the high school. Federal officials met with county, state and RAM officials on March 22 to recognize the success of the effort.

Meeting at the Knoxville Convention Center with Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham and Blount County Health Department director Micky Roberts were Acting Deputy Surgeon General for the United States Rear Adm. David Rutstein, chief of staff for the United States Public Health Service Rear Adm. Robert Williams and Kimberly Elenberg, trainer and commander with the Office of Force Readiness and Development.

Also present were Jack Cochran, Emergency Health Response coordinator with the Tennessee Department of Health, RAM Clinic founder Stan Brock and state director Ron Brewer as well as Laura Kirschenmann of RAM. Kiwanis Club leaders Bunker Handy and Bill Hagen also attended.

Roberts said those who attended were recognizing the United States Public Health Service Deployed Forces for the completion of their inaugural deployment in East Tennessee during the RAM clinic at Heritage High School.

“This deployment with RAM, the Blount County Health Department and the East Region was the first collaboration for this purpose in the nation and will serve as a model for other communities and RAM clinics held across the Country in the future in partnership with the United States Public Health Commissioned Corps,” Roberts said. “This collaborative effort was called ‘Operation Nexus’ by the Office of Force Readiness and Deployment of the Office of the United States Surgeon General.”

Roberts said this collaboration resulted in an effective and unified public health medical expedition in a rural setting. “Some outcomes from the Clinical efforts included 420 one-time encounters; 69.5 percent, or 292 were female, 30.5 percent or 128 were male and 54.7 percent, or 230, were Blount County residents,” he said. “The majority of services utilized were dental at 72.3 percent, or 304, and the rest were vision and general medical.”

The Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service was deployed the week before the RAM clinic and provided services in several counties in East Tennessee leading up to the RAM Clinic held at Heritage High School. Officers and members of this commissioned corps provided services composed of physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, epidemiologists, logistics specialist, environmentalists and others.

Some of the services included surveying communities about their attitudes, beliefs and thoughts concerning flu shots, designing and building pressurized rooms for Tuberculosis (TB) control, testing well water for possible contaminants, providing CPR training for more than 50 medical personnel in partnership with the Blount County Health Department and The Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

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