Volunteers, donors wanted for a free medical clinic in Olean | New

Karen Fohl is a recruiter at heart.

She helped start the Olean General Hospital Foundation in 1997, and as president for 20 years, oversaw an operation that raised over $ 40 million.

During her many years at the hospital, she also successfully ran a recruitment program for physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Partly retired, Fohl is once again responsible for involving healthcare professionals where they are needed most than ever. Since the winter, she has contacted doctors and support staff to ask them to donate their time and expertise to the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic which will be visiting the Cattaraugus County campus of Jamestown Community College. September 11 and 12.

With the help of donors and volunteers, the clinic will provide free medical, dental and optical care to underserved and uninsured community members. No ID or insurance is required.

Fohl, OGH’s part-time director of strategic partnerships, helped secure the services of dentists, hygienists, ophthalmologists, opticians, optometrists and assistants.

With the help of orthodontist Olean Dominic Colarusso, Fohl recently received an engagement from seven professionals from Valley View Dental in Allegany.

“I feel very blessed by these people,” Fohl said. But more help is needed in terms of vision, dental care, and general support staff volunteers. More funding is also needed to reach the goal of $ 31,000 for the clinic, according to Paula Snyder, editor and coordinator of JCC’s Cattaraugus County Clinic.

“We really need more financial donors, volunteers and corporate sponsors,” Snyder said. “We receive donations through the Cattaraugus Area Community Foundation. They can do it online if they want to. We would like to have volunteers. It’s going to be huge. “

After going through the list of healthcare professionals registered to participate, Fohl admitted that she was unsure if there were enough.

The more professionals who volunteer, the more people who can be served on a first come, first serve basis during the two day clinic.

A RAM clinic at Saint-Bonaventure University in 2017 provided $ 188,000 in medical care to 314 people. With JCC’s downtown Olean campus located within walking distance of many of the city’s poor, Snyder and his fellow clinic coordinator Jim Mahar of BonaResponds hope to care for at least 400 people.

Olean General Hospital was not involved in the RAM clinic four years ago at SBU. Having Fohl on board helped rally more professionals from the region to the cause.

“Having Karen on board the hospital made life a lot easier,” Mahar said.

“When I saw him come back,” Fohl said of the RAM clinic back in the area, “I felt and the hospital felt that we had to be an integral part of this mission to serve the wrong people. served. “

Universal Primary Care staff are committed to providing general care services at the clinic. Cancer screening will be provided by the state cancer services program.

In addition to primary medical, dental and vision care, the clinic will provide resources for teaching mental health, women’s health and diabetes by St. Bonaventure professor Scott Medler and his student health professionals.

Individuals will also be able to register for Affordable Care Act coverage, receive a COVID-19 vaccination and donate blood to the ConnectLife Bloodmobile.

JCC nursing students and University of Buffalo dental students are also expected to volunteer.

As much as professional health volunteers are needed, so are general support assistants who set up and manage registration tables, monitor parking lots and tell patients where to go.

“General volunteers are absolutely needed to transport the tables, transport the chairs, assemble the dental chairs, disassemble the dental chairs and clean up,” said Mahar, who volunteered at the clinic in 2017. “We didn’t. not just need dentists. We don’t just need ophthalmologists. We need a high school student with a strong back who can move chairs and tables.

A clinic steering committee led by Snyder and Mahar has been planning the event since the winter. The group includes key community leaders who are connected to financial and medical resources, and who also have the ability to educate those in need of clinical care opportunities.

In addition to recruiting volunteers, committee members raised funds and secured hotel rooms from Microtel, Best Western, Fairfield Inn, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn at reduced volunteer costs.

Snyder said one of the clinic’s first major sponsors was Cutco Corp. and CEO Jim Stitt. The Olean Blind Association donated $ 5,000 and the Eighth District Dental Society donated $ 4,000.

Since RAM’s creation in 1985, more than 863,000 people have benefited from free services. Four years ago, the RAM clinic in Saint-Bonaventure was the first of its kind in New York State.

For more information visit ramusa.org or call (865) 579-1530.


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