Claire Porterfield ’16 Becomes Two-Time RAM Volunteer

Two years ago, the desire to volunteer at a medical clinic resulted in a trip to the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Health Exposition in Wise, Va. for pre-health student Claire Porterfield ’16. The biochemistry major and psychology minor returned for her second RAM event July 17-19, 2015.

A non-profit established in 1985 by Stan Brock, who now serves as the organization’s president, delivers free basic medical aid to people in the regions of the world that do not have routine access to health care. Through a partnership with Southwest Virginia’s Health Wagon, this year’s all-volunteer RAM event was the 700th worldwide and the largest such event in the United States.

“What stunned me at Remote Area Medical was how big it was. It filled an entire fairground,” says Porterfield. “The number of volunteers that come is incredible. Hundreds of people happily donate their time to provide care. I’ve met pre-health students, medical students, nurses, doctors and technicians from all over who tell stories and share experiences and advice.”

Services at RAM include medical, dental and vision provided to the uninsured, underinsured, unemployed, working poor and others who cannot afford to pay.

“Once, a friend from the clinic and I knocked on the vision truck because we thought it was so cool that they were making glasses right there in a van,” Porterfield notes. “An incredibly friendly intern excitedly gave us a tour of the whole process.”

For Porterfield, RAM was an experience she will never forget. “I have been to RAM twice now and I can honestly say it has been one of the best and most moving experiences of my undergraduate career.”

Recent Allegheny graduates who volunteered their time at RAM Health Expositions in Wise, Va. include Abigael Dishler ’13, Dosalyn Thompson ’13 and Winnie Wong ’12.

Students interested in careers in the health professions and in this and other experiential learning opportunities may contact Director of Pre-Professional Studies Kirsten Peterson at

Photo: Allegheny College student volunteer Claire Porterfield with University of Virginia student volunteers Lauren Benoit and Emily Moore (left to right).