Inside a Traveling Health Care Tent City

Suzy Allman

Suzy Allman

This series of photographs documents the patients and medical workers of the Wise Remote Area Medical Clinic, the largest free mobile medical camp in the country. The clinic, located in poverty-stricken Appalachia, provides desperately needed dental, vision, hearing and medical services to thousands of Americans who are sick, suffering and have limited or no access to health care. Most patients come from the coal counties of southwestern Virginia, but many come from Kentucky, Tennessee and beyond.

Medical workers use field tents, specially modified to provide air conditioning and electricity, to treat patients.

Suzy Allman

Young children wait for admittance to the Virginia/Kentucky Fairgrounds for the Remote Area Medical Clinic.

Suzy Allman

Dental patients wait for free dental care at the Remote Area Medical expedition. At the clinic in 2006, volunteers pulled a total of 3,476 bad teeth, performed 1,109 eye examinations, and gave out 710 free prescription eyeglasses. All services, equipment, and supplies are donated.

Suzy Allman

Norma Fuller, left, holds a drip for her daughter Ashley, 23, who suffers from Rett Syndrome, a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder. July, 2009.

Suzy Allman

In an animal pen of the Virginia/Kentucky Fairground, a man is admitted to the clinic. Over 3,000 people take advantage of the clinic, a collaborative effort to provide free medical, dental, and vision care for patients primarily from the coal counties of Virginia. This region is home to some of the most medically underserved population in the country, where obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and poor dental health are common problems.

Suzy Allman

Pink plastic chairs lined up to receive patients for full-mouth extractions. A combination of poor diet and little or no access to dentistry sometimes demands radical treatment.

Suzy Allman

Nurses and doctors from the University of Virginia work in triage.

Suzy Allman

Patients endure long lines and waits for free medical and dental services.

Suzy Allman

Dentists and their students from Virginia Commonwealth University anesthetize a patient prior to performing an extraction at the Virginia/Kentucky Fairground in Wise, Virginia. This region is home to some of the most medically underserved people in the country; many are needle-phobic or without insurance and have not seen a dentist in years.

Suzy Allman

A patient endures the extraction of several teeth in a makeshift dental tent.

Suzy Allman

In an animal pen of the Virginia/Kentucky Fairground, collapsed patients receive medical attention from medical volunteers.

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Medical students from the University of Virginia check the vitals of an obese man in a medical tent.

Suzy Allman

A University of Maryland dental student rests in the middle of the oral surgery tent at the end of a long day of seeing patients.

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A woman smiles after being fitted for false teeth.

Suzy Allman

Patients at the Remote Area Medical expedition were admitted into a dairy barn at the Wise County Fairground for triage and to enter their medical information. This process started at 5:30 a.m. Rural families, most with little or no insurance, lined up for hours.

Suzy Allman

The dental tent at the Wise County Fairgrounds. More than 8,000 patients were seen in its three days this year.

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