The Tennessee Health Care Campaign is saddened by the death of Stan Brock, founder of Remote Area Medical (RAM).
Brock founded RAM in 1985, initially to serve as a safety net provider of free medical care in developing countries, but almost immediately he started getting requests to hold medical clinics in the United States.
Brock, a former cowboy and movie and television personality made RAM his life’s work. He based the RAM headquarters in Rockford, Tennessee, in Blount County. The first RAM clinic was held in Sneedville, Tennessee, in 1992.
Since 1985, one million people have received health care including dental and visual because of Remote Area Medical.
Attending the clinics, you see people arriving in the middle of the night, even by foot to reach clinics. They draw numbers to get in line for the coming day. Brock was often there at the gate welcoming people.
Brock’s life is featured in a film in production called Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story. RAM clinics serve those who could not afford premiums for insurance or deductibles if they were able to get insurance. RAM is an option for urgent immediate primary care, including dental and vision.
Brock said, “It’s very sad that the state of affairs requires us to provide this kind of care in the world’s richest country.” Even with the reduction of uninsured numbers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), RAM has seen a growing need for its clinics in the U.S. Stan Brock was instrumental in passing the Tennessee Volunteer Medical Services Act of 1995, which allows health professionals with out-of-state licenses to cross state lines and provide free care.
The Knoxville Mercury in 2016 profiled Brock’s life including how he spent 15 years of his early life on Guyana’s Rupununi Savannah working as a vaquero (cowboy) on one of the world’s largest cattle operations, at the isolated Dadanawa Ranch. The other cowboys were Indians. A 17-year-old, he came to a country that in 1953 was still a British colony. He learned herding cattle by horseback from local Wapishana Indians and like them worked barefoot.
Brock told the story of what faced cowboys on the ranch if injured. It was “a 26-day journey to reach the nearest medical doctor in Georgetown—a disheartening fact Brock only came to realize after a near-fatal accident trying to tame a wild horse.”
“I actually told that story to astronaut Ed Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, a couple of years ago,” Brock recounted. “He said, ‘Gosh, I was on the moon and was only three days from the nearest doctor.”
RAM is asking people who would like to share a memory about Brock to email them at email@example.com.”
RAM faces the loss of Stan’s voice but has been prepared for this day. Our hearts reach out to his friends, family and co-workers.
RAM and THCC have different roles in the effort to bring about health care access for all but we are on parallel paths toward equity. THCC volunteers are often also RAM volunteers at RAM free clinics. We have provided information about health insurance eligibility.
Well done, Stan.
Jacy Warrell, THCC Executive Director
Tennessee Health Care Campaign
Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC) •1321 Murfreesboro Pike, Suite 311, Nashville, TN 37217
(615) 227-7500 • Fax: (615) 846-1946 • Toll-free: 1-877-431-7083 • www.thcc2.org