AdventHealth Gordon proudly joined forces with community partners to organize the AMEN Free Clinic on Sunday, June 11, 2023. This collaborative event aimed to provide essential medical, dental, vision, and mental health support to the local community, free of charge. With nearly 370 individuals served by 175 dedicated volunteers, AdventHealth Gordon’s unwavering commitment to “Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ” was put into action throughout the event.
Denise Rustad, community wellness coordinator at AdventHealth Gordon, dreamed of this event for several years. After the idea was put on hold due to COVID-19, Rustad and others at AdventHealth Gordon, Calhoun Church, Georgia-Cumberland Conference, and Georgia-Cumberland Academy Church rallied together to bring the vision to life. Recognizing the immense need for basic medical services, the group partnered with the Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN), an organization specializing in offering free clinics to uninsured and underinsured individuals across the United States.
The AMEN Free Clinic served as a beacon of hope for those in the community lacking adequate health care coverage. Patients had the opportunity to receive much-needed dental services, vision care, mental health support, and comprehensive medical consultations. Many patients who received care had not seen a doctor or dentist in years. AdventHealth Gordon also provided additional medical equipment, health screening devices, and essential supplies to ensure a seamless experience for patients.
Throughout the event, Advent- Health Gordon’s dedicated team members went above and beyond to serve the clinic’s participants. Lynn Janzen, AdventHealth Gordon laboratory director, guided patients to their desired services. Daniel Ahn, M.D., ophthalmologist at AdventHealth Gordon, conducted vision exams, addressing any visual impairments that patients may have been experiencing. Nursing staff also played a crucial role in the success of the AMEN Free Clinic by conducting pre-screening labs for all patients and readying them to see a doctor or dentist. Sally Smalley, M.D., an otolaryngologist at AdventHealth Medical Group Ear, Nose & Throat at Calhoun, provided ear cleanings.
Chris Self, president and CEO at AdventHealth Gordon, worked to find and deliver essential supplies such as hand sanitizer and dental supplies. Wendy Taylor, community outreach coordinator at AdventHealth in Georgia, directed the registration and patient check-in process, greeting each patient with a smile. The hospital’s plant operations team contributed to patient privacy by delivering room dividers, creating a confidential environment for medical consultations.
Calhoun resident Tammy Minchew was one of the first in line at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning, and heard about the clinic the week before on social media. “Today was a tremendous blessing for me,” said Minchew. “I checked to see what this dental treatment would cost, and it would have been thousands of dollars.”
A team of dentists, dental assistants, registered dental hygienists, and sterilization crew delivered expert care to people in need of cleanings, extractions, and other procedures. Dental assistant students from Georgia Northwestern Technical College and dental hygiene students from Chattanooga State University volunteered their time to help.
During her visit with one of the volunteer dentists, Minchew received fillings, smoothed teeth, and a sparkling smile. “The dentist filled my broken tooth, and it was smooth for the first time in seven months. He didn’t want me leaving here in pain and made a difference in just 30 minutes. Now I can eat, sleep, and talk more normally. And now I have my smile back,” said Minchew.
The event’s organizers were intentional about creating access and a positive experience for attending Spanish- speaking participants. Bilingual medical providers met with patients, and the dental area had many volunteers who were able to communicate in various languages. A translation team of volunteers guided attendees and helped them locate their desired services.
“The AMEN Free Clinic perfectly embodies the heart of what we do at AdventHealth Gordon – Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ,” said Self. “This event brought together numerous community partners to address the health care needs of our community. It is rewarding to witness the dedication of the 175 volunteers and the positive impact they have made.” The success of the AMEN Free Clinic serves as a testament to AdventHealth Gordon’s unwavering commitment to meeting the diverse health care needs of the community.
AdventHealth | August 2023