Hundreds Receive Care at Impact Your Health Event in Portland

October 02, 2017 | Dick Duerksen

Take one gymnasium; add carpet to cover the hardwood floor; bring in folding tables, 55 dental chairs (for hygiene, anesthesia and surgery); add a very long and complicated table for supplies and sterilization; fill the stage with a medical practice office for seven physicians; overflow into the cafeteria for optometrists, opticians and an ophthalmologist; head into the hallway for body and foot massage, into two classrooms for haircuts and professional photos, and into the library for child care — and you’re almost ready to conduct a free health clinic.

Woops. I forgot the crew that was cutting lenses for glasses in the auto mechanic shop and the volunteer registration and meal center in the tech room. And the back-to-school supplies and backpacks table outside the school entrance.

And, equally important, the half-hallway packed tightly with registration computers.

It took about 18 hours on Thursday to set up for the two-day Impact Your Health Portland clinic, held at Portland Adventist Academy Aug. 18 and 20, 2017.

One of the most exciting aspects of a free clinic is seeing who comes. We knew about the 600 volunteers, since each of them had to sign up on the clinic website in advance. They included:

50 dentists;

20 Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) dental students;

23 dental hygenists;

Seven physicians;

More than 30 nurses;

19 Walla Walla University nursing students;

Four optometrists;

One ophthalmologist;

Six beauticians;

Two photographers, hospitality escorts and servers of nourishing smoothies.

And we knew our partners:

Adventist Health;

AMEN (Adventist Medical Evangelism Network);

Pacific University School of Optometry;

OHSU School of Dentistry;

Walla Walla University School of Nursing 

George Fox University School of Physical Therapy.

But the big question is always, “Who will come?”

“We advertise everywhere, promise good care and pray,” said one of our marketers.

“Don’t forget,” added one pessimist, “this is the eclipse weekend.”

On Thursday, a woman and her daughter were asking God how they were going to be able to pay for the mom’s dental and vision needs. That evening someone sent them a copy of the Impact Your Health advertisement.

“It was a total answer to prayer,” the mom said. “Since we live in Idaho, we got in the car right away and drove six hours to be sure we could be at the front of the line Friday morning.”

Yes, we met her needs — and those of 775 others who came to the clinic on Friday and Sunday.

“I have never had a professional photo taken. Never!" exclaimed one attendee. "And I love the picture Ben took for me!”

“We’re almost the last stop for each patient,” said the leader of the “footwashing” station. “But people see us, ask a couple questions, and then weep as we massage their feet and pray for them. Compassion goes a long way.”

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this but didn’t know how I could take time to go overseas on a mission trip,” said one dentist. “I am so pleased that I can serve those in need right here in my hometown of Portland.”

Yes, there will be an Impact Your Health Portland in 2018. Prepare to volunteer!