MPPA Students Engaged with Remote Area Medical
On January 31 thru February 1, MPPA students Kate Rafferty and Logan Craft joined scholars from top universities all over the country, including Harvard, Princeton, and Howard at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) leadership conference in Knoxville, TN. RAM is a nonprofit organization that provides free dental, vision, and medical care to underserved and uninsured members of society in each of its 77 mobile clinics worldwide.
Rafferty and Craft were selected to represent the MPPA program and to offer a policy perspective to the various medical and communications professionals at the conference. Logan was "amazed by the efficiency of the organization and startled by the immense health needs right here in Knox County.” Recounting the time he spent at the clinic, “RAM was able to provide free medical treatment to 1,534 patients,” totaling $1.4 million worth of medical treatment in just two days. “People started lining up for this desperately needed care in some cases over 48 hours in advance.”
Kate described the enormous amount of work performed by professionals at the RAM clinic. There were 100 chairs available for dental work and 18 sites for vision screening, but she says the most impactful moment for her was not the quantity of people served but the impact on individuals quality of life. She described a mother who, after receiving a pair of glasses, was able clearly to see her newborn baby for the first time.
Both Rafferty and Craft were deeply moved by their experiences with Remote Area Medical and were grateful to be able to apply what they have learned in the MPPA program about government and the policy process. Both students plan to remain active with the RAM organization, and Craft, joined by a group of undergraduate honors students, will be serving at another two-day clinic in Cookeville at the end of March 2020.