Volunteer dental professionals provide care to patients at a Remote Area Medical clinic in Weatherford, Oklahoma, on Saturday, July 13, 2019. (Tres Savage)

Generally speaking, I have a pretty firm rule here at NonDoc: We do not hype things. Sure, we sometimes publish excerpts of books and occasionally respond to press releases with an offer to do a Q&A, but we typically stay away from direct promotion of events.

The exceptions over the years, however, have been a few short posts written to alert the public about Remote Area Medical events here in Oklahoma. RAM holds free clinics around the globe, and they are offering free dental, vision and medical care to anyone who needs it Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17, in Weatherford at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University basketball arena.

This care is provided by volunteer professionals on a first-come, first-served basis and without requirements regarding income, insurance or immigration status. Everyone is eligible. Dental services include cleanings, fillings, extractions and x-rays. Vision services include eye exams, glaucoma testing and prescription eyeglasses made on site.

Clinic doors open at 6 a.m. July 16 at the Pioneer Cellular Event Center, 900 N. 7th St. in Weatherford.

Patients can receive life-changing care

Oklahoma optometrists
Patients select pairs of frames during a Remote Area Medical event at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 10, 2010. (Provided)

Why am I bending my editorial rule against hyping events and writing this piece? Because I have seen the value of the care Oklahomans have received at past RAM clinics. In 2010, I acted as the local coordinator for RAM’s first event in Oklahoma and for subsequent events at the State Fairgrounds in 2012 and 2014. RAM went on to hold clinics in Durant, Idabel and Weatherford. I attended as a volunteer.

I’ve been to RAM events in Memphis, Chicago, East St. Louis and other communities. The free, quality care provided to patients can truly change lives. I have watched it happen, and most of the time it occurred without much local media presence. National and international journalists often cover RAM events to ponder the problems of the U.S. health care system, but the clinics frequently fly under the radar of local media, leaving potential patients unaware of the opportunity.

As a result, my cost-benefit analysis tells me this: Yes, I am guilty of “hyping” this event that I personally care about, but the only fallout of that will be Oklahomans learning where they can get a free pair of glasses or some quality dental work.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the July 16-17 RAM clinic in Weatherford can sign up here. As always, dental and vision professionals are the most important volunteers at these clinics, so if you fall in one of those categories please consider donating your time.

More information for patients of RAM clinics can be found here.