AP NEWS

Free health clinic offered for wildfire victims

February 4, 2017

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Victims of last year’s Tennessee wildfires and members of the Pigeon Forge community were offered free health screenings Saturday at an event organized by Healthy Tennessee and physicians from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The clinic on Saturday was organized as a second wave of help for families affected by wildfires that ravaged Sevier County during November and December. Organizers estimated that early 200 people attended the clinic, the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2kAAi7N) reported.

Doctors, nurses and nursing students from across East Tennessee volunteered to help show support for wildfire victims and community members. Dr. Mary Sue Hodges of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing said they had more than 40 nursing students volunteering.

“We had concerns about all the problems that have happened in the Smokies, and they’re our neighbors and we want to help,” Hodges said. “We’re excited about the people we’ve seen coming; as word spreads in the community, hopefully we’ll be able to get some folks screened who haven’t had an opportunity to go to a doctor or a healthcare provider.”

Medical professionals and students from East Tennessee State University and Lincoln Memorial University also were involved in staffing the clinic, as were five doctors and one medical student from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Healthy Tennessee President Dr. Manny Sethi said the clinic was organized to demonstrate the power that communities have to unite and help each other.

“We could not do this without the power of community and the local volunteers coming out,” Sethi said. “We’ve got about a hundred folks on the ground today who have come out to help their fellow neighbors and their community because it’s all about, really, neighbors helping neighbors.”

Healthy Tennessee has organized several similar clinics across the state in cities such as Memphis and Chattanooga.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com