April 03, 2012
Faculty, student and alumni volunteers from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry recently joined forces with hundreds of other medical and dental volunteers at Remote Area Medical (RAM), a four-day event held March 22-25 at the Oakland Coliseum. This is the second year Dugoni School volunteers have participated in RAM Oakland, and the first year the dental school has had an official, organized presence at the event.
A Tennessee-based organization, RAM provides a wide range of free health services to underserved populations around the world. Originally focusing on remote locations in South America and other countries, in recent years the organization has been hosting events for disadvantaged populations in the U.S. RAM organizes dental, vision, and medical care for the un- or under-insured, medically underserved and impoverished across the country via expeditions staffed by volunteer medical professionals and support personnel.
At this year's event in Oakland, more than 20 dental students, 10 Dugoni School faculty and numerous dental school alumni staffed dental chairs set up in the dental services section of RAM. Attendees received X-rays, cleanings, fillings and extractions free of charge. Many attendees came to RAM over multiple days to receive extensive treatment that could not be accomplished in one day.
The Dugoni School of Dentistry’s participation in the event was coordinated by Dr. Allen Wong, director of the Hospital Dentistry Program; Dr. Daniel Nam '02; and Chris Miller, director of community programs and co-director of the Pacific Center for Special Care. Wong coordinated faculty volunteers, while Nam worked with RAM event organizers and Miller coordinated the student volunteer leadership. The student leaders, Class of 2012 student Sheena Phan and Class of 2013 student Sarah Oh, worked diligently to promote and recruit student volunteers.
Wong considers RAM an opportunity for dental students to learn about access to care issues and to see first-hand the need for care that exists locally.
"The people who come to Remote Area Medical tend to be in great need of dental and medical care, and are willing to wait long hours to receive treatment at the event," said Wong. "This was a wonderful opportunity for Dugoni School volunteers to see what's possible when people come together to help one another."
2012 marks the second year RAM has hosted events in Northern California. The Oakland event was coordinated with help from the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and Tzu Chi, an Oakland-based nonprofit. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, RAM expected to treat more than 7,000 attendees at the Oakland event. RAM also recently hosted an event in Sacramento.
For more information about Remote Area Medical, visit http://www.ramusa.org.
Category Type: Community Outreach, Special Events
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