Wise, Virginia – July 13, 2019
The Health Wagon announces a new health outreach event Move Mountains Medical Missions, an annual event which will expand free medical, dental and vision care formerly offered by The Health Wagon and Remote Area Medical (RAM). Move Mountains Medical Missions will be hosted by The Health Wagon and will take place on July 17-19, 2020 at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Wise, Virginia. The Health Wagon will collaborate with the Virginia Dental Association Foundation’s Mission of Mercy project to provide dental care. Mission of Mercy dental clinic will be held simultaneously at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise’s Convocation Center. Free medical, dental and vision services will continue to be offered, including stronger access to specialty and diagnostic health care services. The new health outreach will likely include longtime founding partner The Lions Club.
In 1999, Stan Brock, Dr. Teresa Tyson and Sister Bernie Kenny identified a need for medical, dental and vision services for medically underserved patients in Southwest Virginia. This need resulted in the founding of the largest health care outreach of its kind in the nation, RAM Wise County. This lifesaving clinic continued for twenty years and thousands of volunteers have provided care to tens of thousands of patients in the region. In the twenty years of RAM Wise County operations, The Health Wagon has built a strong infrastructure and capacity around eye, dental and medical resources. Since its inception, The Health Wagon, Mission of Mercy, RAM and other partners have provided care registering over 100,000 patient encounters.
“I’m grateful to RAM for their many years of service, and I’m happy that Heath Wagon, Mission of Mercy and other committed partners have agreed to continue providing free healthcare and dental care to the medically underserved of Appalachia,” said Governor Northam. “These wonderful service organizations provide much-needed health and dental services to thousands of our fellow citizens, and they are deserving of our thanks and support.”
“We at the Virginia Dental Association Foundation, as sponsors of the Missions of Mercy Program, are proud of the 20 year heritage of cooperation among the many groups that have provided free health care in Southwest Virginia. We are excited about partnering with The Health Wagon and other organizations to continue providing free medical and dental care at events in Southwest Virginia – particularly Wise – in the coming years. Wise is where it all began so many years ago, and we welcome perpetuating the visions of several public altruistic pioneers to improve the lives of people in the region,” said Virginia Dental Association Foundation Board President Barry Isringhausen.
“The Health Wagon and the residents of the region are forever indebted to Stan Brock and the RAM organization, for they have helped us elevate the health care of an entire region over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Teresa Tyson, Executive Director of The Health Wagon. “We are honored to have worked with RAM and all the incredible partners who have made the largest health outreach of its kind in the nation possible year after year. This is a time of transition and The Health Wagon is so excited about what the future holds.”
The Health Wagon is committed to disease prevention and health promotion. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation compile rankings to reflect the overall health of counties in every state across the country. Each county is ranked with the other counties in Virginia and given a score for health outcomes. Of the 133 Virginia communities, Wise County is no longer at the bottom of the list, however, still ranks 125 of the 133 communities. “I feel that this is due to the efforts of amazing collaboration by thousands of volunteers over the years to provide care to others. I feel these numbers look promising to turn around significant health care disparities in Southwest Virginia; yet, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We need our amazing volunteers more so now than ever,” said Dr. Tyson.
If you or your organization volunteered at RAM Wise County and would like to continue serving as a volunteer or supporter, please contact The Health Wagon at (276) 328-8850 to be registered for the July 2020 health outreach event.
The Health Wagon is a nurse practitioner managed clinic that has been in existence since 1980 which provides free medical, dental and vision health care services in Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson, Buchanan and Russell Counties and Norton City. For more information about The Health Wagon, please call 276-328-8850 or visit http://www.thehealthwagon.org. If you would like to donate to the Health Wagon, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, please visit: http://www.thehealthwagon.org/donate.