Free health care from RAM Ohio - EVENT CANCELLED due to concerns of Swine Flu

Cleveland boasts some of the strongest medical resources in the country but has thousands of residents who go without necessary medical treatment. Cleveland Heights resident Zac Ponsky is doing something to change that.

He is organizing many of the area's world-class physicians, dentists and optometrists to provide the uninsured and the underinsured with access to free health care on May 2 and 3 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

During the last 10 months Ponsky has worked with area hospitals, medical professionals and businesses to design what may be the largest free medical clinic in the country.

The U.S. Army 256th Combat Support Hospital Unit is a partner and will provide an ER MASH unit and equipment. Social workers and social service organizations will be on hand to provide information and resources.

Ponsky has modeled the project after the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps based in Tennessee, which strives to bring health care resources together to help those in need. The RAM Ohio expedition will be the first ever held in a major urban location.

"There has been an outpouring of support and enthusiasm from the community," says Ponsky. “Cleveland has always been one of the biggest philanthropic cities in the country and it is showing its colors now. In these tough economic times, local hospitals, clinics and private practices have pulled together to make this event happen.”

“Local businesses have signed up to donate their services and hundreds of people have called to donate their time," says Kyan Chuong, RAM Ohio's deputy director and Cleveland Heights resident.

RAM Ohio takes place on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea. Attendees should enter through the Bagley Road entrance. Doors open at 6 a.m. RAM Ohio suggests that those wanting care arrive early and prepare for long lines. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The parking lot will open at midnight on May 2.

Ponsky cautions that this is the first time an event of this scale has been staged in Ohio. The clinic will see as many people as possible, but may not be able to treat everyone who shows up, he says. He also asks for patience and consideration for the volunteers giving up their weekend to help out.

RAM Ohio is still in need of supplies, such as generators, paper, copiers, pole or frame tents, and medical and dental supplies. The organization also encourages dentists, dental assistants, optometrists and lab opticians to volunteer.

For more information contact the RAM Ohio office at or visit

Sam Heide is a volunteer for RAM Ohio.

Read More on Health & Wellness
Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 1:15 PM, 03.27.2009