Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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A Sacred Obligation at the Wise, Virginia Health Fair

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photo-25My title has multiple meanings.

Perhaps that will become clear.

How did you spend your weekend?

At 1:30 AM Thursday I got in my car and drove for about 6 hours through the night to the mountains of Southwest Virginia, which in the daylight are so heart-breakingly beautiful one almost forgets the poverty of so many therein.

photo-24I stopped briefly to check in to my hotel in Norton, then drove a few miles more, through Wise to the Wise County Fairgrounds for yet another "mission," this my 5th.

It was the 15th anniversary of the Wise Virginia Health fair, with dental services provided by the Missions of Mercy of the Virginia Dental Association's foundation and everything else provided by Remote Area Medical, founded by Stan Brock.

Officially the event began on Friday, but first we had to unload these two trucks and set up.  We had many students from the School of Dentistry at VCU, as well as from other colleges and universities.  I will talk some more about the students for whom this too was a sacred obligation, as it was for so many - of course the dentists volunteering under what became extremely difficult circumstances, and general volunteers, like yours truly.

Please keep reading.

Providing Medical Care at School

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Several days ago I read this on providing medical care at school.

school nurse

I sent the link out to a number of significant political, governmental and policy people, saying

I thought this might be something for you to consider.  I am motivated to send this on in part by my experience of volunteering in free medical and dental clinics in Virginia, both in rural areas like Wise and Grundy, and in more urban areas like Roanoke and NoVa.  I am also motivated to share this because as a teacher in Greenbelt MD, perhaps a 20 minute drive from the Capitol, I encounter too many students with unaddressed health issues.

In rural areas if a child needs a basic medical visit it often means missing a day of school.  That can be true for students in magnet programs in cities.

A child with dental problems cannot concentrate.  A child with vision or hearing problems will not function as efficiently.

And a child on the road to obesity will not have as productive a life, and will incur far more downstream medical problems and costs.

Thus I urge you to read this piece and consider how it might point at things within your power to address.

Please keep reading.