Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a free healthcare organization that makes its yearly stop in Wise, and treats hundreds of patients. RAM gathers volunteers from across the state, and two UVa-Wise students Sydney Bates, and Peter Valadez were among them.
RAM offers free eye, dental, and healthcare to patients each year and all doctors, nurses, hygienists, and assistants are there on a volunteer basis.
Often times, the event will attract student volunteers looking to gain experience, strengthen their resumes and lend a hand to a worthy cause.
UVa-Wise sophomore and biology major, Sydney Bates, volunteered in the vision portion of this year’s RAM.
“I helped measure the prescription of people’s glasses, as well as assist patients to and from different stations within the clinic,” Bates said.
Bates added that the education she has received at UVa-Wise is what inspired her to volunteer at RAM. During her first year of college at UVa-Wise, she discovered her passion for biology and her desire to pursue a career in the medical field.
“My biology classes have taught me so much about biological systems, and they have also given me hands on experience [like] checking vital signs. This encouraged me to volunteer for RAM to utilize what I learned,” Bates said.
Fellow sophomore and biology major, Peter Valadez, also volunteered at RAM and worked in the clinic’s triage.
“I got to do patient history, so I got to take oral history, and ask questions concerning their previous healthcare. I also did vitals, so I got to take their blood pressure, their pulse, and check glucose levels.,” Valadez said.
Valadez also expanded on how his education at UVa-Wise helped to prepare and inspire him to work with RAM.
He said that by being a biology major and pre-med student, he was able to learn things about vitals from his lab courses, and RAM allowed him to apply his classroom knowledge to a real life scenario.
Both Valadez and Bates explain the greater insight they gained from RAM, outside of just their medical experiences.
“There’s a great need for healthcare in Southwest Virginia, and it was great to be able to service that need, and to be a helping hand for the area and the people,” Valadez says.
Bates described the experience as an “eye-opening” one. “I loved being able to give back to my community and helping those in need.”