Remote Area Medical

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Remote Area Medical is a non-profit, completely volunteer, airborne relief corps that provides free health care, dental care, eye care, veterinary services, and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the United States and the world. RAM was founded in 1985 by Stan Brock, and is a publicly-supported, all-volunteer charitable organization. Volunteer doctors, nurses, pilots, veterinarians and support workers participate in "expeditions," at their own expense, to offer free medical services to needy populations. Medical supplies, medicines, facilities and vehicles are donated.[1]

Original Mission

Brock developed his vision for creating Remote Area Medical while working for over 15 years in the Amazon rain forest with the Wapishana Indians. Brock lived with the pain and suffering created by isolation from medical care, and saw the devastation of entire tribes by what would have been simple or minor illnesses to more advanced cultures. When he left South America to co-star in the television series "Wild Kingdom," he vowed to find a way to deliver basic medical aid to people in the world's inaccessible regions. [2]

Work helping victims of the the dysfunctional U.S. health care system

RAM was originally founded with the idea of helping people in undeveloped countries who lacked access to any medical care, but as the spiraling costs of the dysfunctional, for-profit U.S. health care system has rendered medical care out of reach for tens of millions of Americans, RAM has started conducting more and more health care expeditions in the U.S. to help fill Americans' desperate need for care. When Brock started RAM in 1985, the possibility never occurred to him that most of his expeditions would eventually take him to communities in one of the wealthiest countries in the world -- the United States. But it soon became apparent to him that millions of Americans don’t have much better access to affordable care than residents of the third world, so now more than 60 percent of RAM’s expeditions are conducted within the United States, and not just to rural areas. In fact, the biggest annual RAM expedition is now held in Los Angeles, where thousands of people line up for care that is provided free over the course of eight days.

Influence on corporate health insurance

Former head of CIGNA corporate communications turned-Health reform advocate Wendell Potter cites his experience of seeing one of RAM's health care expeditions in Tennessee as being the determining factor that ultimately convinced him to leave the world of for-profit health insurance to advocate health care reform. [3]


Remote Area Medical®
1834 Beech Street
Knoxville, TN 37920


  1. Remote Area Medical Mission, Organizational Web site, accessed February 17, 2011
  2. Remote Area Medical History, Organizational Web site, accessed February 17, 2011
  3. Wendell Potter ANALYSIS — An Illuminating Expedition to the World of the Uninsured, Center for Public Integrity, February 17, 2011