In April of 2011, Remote Area Medical® (RAM) with hosts The California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the TZU Chi Foundation provided free health care clinics to the communities and surrounding areas of Sacramento and Oakland. These were RAM's 639th and 640th expeditions and the fourth expedition in California.
But RAM's story is much bigger than a single free health care event.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Remote Area Medical® was founded in 1985 to take airborne medical relief to areas of the third world.
British-born adventurer Stan Brock founded RAM as an all-volunteer health and veterinary care organization that would provide services in desolate places outside of the United States.
But in 1992 the obvious need for free services in the US led RAM to hold its first mobile expedition in this country.
Since that time, demand for RAM's services in America has only increased, and RAM has since held free dental, vision, veterinary and general medical care expeditions in numerous states. In California, volunteers from the oral surgeons, dental societies, and general services have formed RAM California, an affiliate of the Remote Area Medical Foundation.
In the long-term, RAM California will expand with its own mobile equipment to provide free care around the state and to augment other organizations' existing health care efforts.
For more information about RAM outside of California, please visit www.ramusa.org.
For a closer look at how RAM operates, watch this "60 Minutes" feature.