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Students volunteer for Remote Area Medical Expedition

October 10, 2013


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Four Saint Francis students accompanied by Dr. Timothy Bintrim, associate professor of English, and Ms. Teresa Preston, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant science, volunteered at the Remote Area Medical Expedition (RAM) in Grundy, Virginia, from October 5-8.

Bintrim, together with English student Rose Klaiber and computer science student Dustin James, volunteered in RAM's mobile optical lab, housed in a retrofitted NASCAR trailer. The "pit crew" of ten filled 352 prescriptions, many for people in desperate need. Within hours of their exams, most clients were fitted with free prescription glasses made on site from donated new materials. After 15 minutes' training, Bintrim was operating a $65,000 lens edger, while Klaiber and James mastered all steps of the manufacturing process.

On Saturday the team met with RAM's second in command, Jean Jolly, about changing Pennsylvania state law to allow temporary licensure for out-of-state providers, a precondition for RAM expeditions to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Johnstown.

Meanwhile, physician assistant students Emily Tercek and Kristi McClellan assisted two dentists and an oral surgeon with fillings and extractions, including full mouth extractions and minor oral surgeries. At least five RAM administrators praised their work ethic and professionalism.

At the end of the expedition, the Saint Francis team helped pack the semi-trailer with equipment from the four optical exam rooms, speeding RAM's departure for the next expedition in Texas. Our students are all return volunteers and will present posters on their RAM experience as part of their senior capstone.