Free medical clinic helps hundreds in need

You’ll be amazed by the scope of this ‘pop-up’ vision, dental, and medical clinic set up in Mill Park for a weekend. Take a look …

During the Impact Your Health PDX event, the Portland Adventist Academy Gym in outer East Portland was turned into a massive clinic.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A coalition calling Impact Your Health PDX held a two-day free health care clinic at the Portland Adventist Academy Gym on August 26 and 28.

During those two days, doctors, dentists, and clinicians provided care to people with limited or no access to health care – with medical, dental, and vision services for Portland’s homeless and low-income populations.

The clinic’s Assistant Medical Director Dr. Rick Westermeyer MD, from Adventist Medical Center, stands with Coordinator Jenny Jin and the event’s spokesman, Pastor Jonathan Russell – on the second day of Impact Your Health PDX.

“Because it was promoted as being offered on a ‘first-come-first-served” basis, we had patients gathering here as early as 5:00 a.m., building up to about 200 of them waiting for the clinics to open at 7:00 a.m. each day,” said the event’s spokesman, Jonathan Russell, Lead Pastor at the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church – located just east of the school.

While patients wait for dental or vision appointments, physical therapists such as Tom Davis, seen here giving a relaxing massage, provide hands-on comfort to guests.

Although the clinic provided medical services, such as hypertension and diabetes screenings, and illness diagnosis and referrals, the primary focus was vision and dental services.

A vision clinic was set up at one end of the gym, where optometrists and ophthalmologists performed complete eye exams, including refractions using one of several Phoropters — an ophthalmic testing device wherein specialists asked their patients, “Which is better, this…or this?”

Dr. Carter Noland, licensed-but-retired ophthalmologist, refracts Jeannie-Rey Routtu as part of a vision screening.

Volunteer Kellie Bryson, a psychology student at WSU “and a mom”, stands by to help vision patients pick out new eyeglass frames.

Even more, patients were directed to an area where they could choose a style of eyeglass frames, and order free prescription glasses.

Most amazing was the many dental operatories set up – complete with chair, powered dental tools and devices, and dentists.

A volunteer dentist and assistant provide care in one of several portable operatories brought in by the Adventist Medical Evangelism Network.

On the spot, volunteer dental hygienists provided cleaning and examinations. Dentists then took over and did fillings, extractions, and restorations. Where needed, patients had professional custom-made crowns fabricated as they waited, and installed that day.

“What you see here today are the results of eight months of planning,” said Event Coordinator Jenny Jen, who works at the Portland VA Medical Center.

“The best part of it, for me, is all of the dentists and optometrists who are generously volunteering their time to support our community members and help improve their health,” Jen told East Portland News. “The second best thing is seeing the grins on all our patients’ faces – especially when they flash their bright, new smiles!”

Here putting the finishing touches on a new crown, made on site with an e.max® system, is Dr. Gary Waldron, DDS.

Impact Your Health PDX is supported by Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN), Adventist Health, and 11 local churches and other groups, Pastor Russell said.

Although this clinic, which helped somet 900 of most vulnerable residents in outer East Portland, was put on by three branches of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, no patient was subject to any sermon or proselytizing effort, Russell said.

As the clinic’s chaplain, Russell said he listens to the patient’s stories about their life’s journey, and pray with them – but only if they request it.

“There are absolutely ‘no strings attached’ to our service here at the clinic,” Russell added. “We don’t screen people; we serve them, and everybody is welcome. We’re happy to invest in their life, to make a positive difference for them, and wish them well.”

Guest Ky Dang gets a professional styling by Charles Sheffer, from Richard Herrera About Hair.

Russell asked that many organizations be recognized for their contributions, including:

Portland Adventist Academy ~ Adventist Medical Evangelism Network
Adventist Medical Center
Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and churches, including
Hood View ~ Lents ~ McMinnville ~ Ohana (in Canby)
Pleasant Valley ~ RoC Fellowship of Oregon ~ Central Korean
Rockwood ~ Stone Tower ~ Sunnyside ~ Vancouver
Your Bible Speaks Seventh-day Adventist Church

Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries
Better Vision, Better Hope
Caring Hands Worldwide
Good News Community Health Center
Hands of Favor ~ Oregon Health Plan
Pacific Cataract Laser Institute
Pacific University School of Pharmacy
Patterson Dental ~ People to People Ministries
Wallace Medical Concern

Find out more about Impact Health PDX at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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