“Say, I am, a volunteer, Say, I will, help someone.”
It’s a sunny morning at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, where over 1,000 volunteers are gathered in the main hall.
The volunteers repeat the words of Dr Rani Whitfield aka the ‘Hip-Hop Doc’ as he energises the crowd, and during his subsequent rap the reason for this gathering in Dallas becomes eminently clear.
“Some people can’t afford to go and see the Doc - the politics are vicious, the fighting needs to stop.”
As poignantly pointed out, the debate on both sides of the Senate rages on about the healthcare situation in the U.S, and while this continues it leaves a lot of people in limbo.
Particularly in Texas where the Affordable Care Act has been repealed leaving approximately 20% of people without healthcare insurance, making Texas the number one state for uninsured Americans*.
Without being covered, access to healthcare becomes very limited to free and volunteer clinics put together by organisations like the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC), that has organised the event in the Convention Center.
* Texas Medical Association
“Having insurance is great but some people just can’t afford it, and I was in that boat. Now I’m near retirement and I’m hoping my body can last out 6 more months then social security can help take care of my [health] problems”
In this giant arena, the stage is set for Texans to come in and get the treatment they need regardless of their healthcare status, with dedicated volunteers from all areas of expertise, including dermatology.
From all around the state 1,000 volunteers gave up their Saturday to help organise the event, providing their skills to treat those in need of care.
“This clinic can’t function without the volunteers - they are a huge part of today and we’re so thankful for those 1,000 people who came and hung out with us."
In the dermatology tent, Vaseline® Healing Project Board Advisory Member, Dr. Jaber led the diagnosis and treatment.
“Today I saw patients with simple conditions like mild eczema and dry skin to people with skin cancers, fortunately today we were able treat these people and direct them to the best clinics to address their issues after the event.”
The all day free clinic helped treat 1,112 people;150 of those were treated by The Vaseline® Healing Project team of dermatologists.
Although this is a one-day event, having access to the range of specialists available helps those without insurance get a base of where they are health-wise and means they can get advice on the best clinics to go help with their conditions going forward.