McALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Thousands attended a medical, vision and dental mega-clinic in McAllen this weekend.
The Seventh-Day Adventist churches of the Rio Grande Valley hosted the event at the McAllen Convention Center on Sunday and Monday.
Community members were able to get health screenings and treatment for a variety of issues.
Among the services offered were health screenings, vision testing and dental procedures. Organizers say medical care is important, but they want to care for the whole individual.
“We’re serving persons who may be underserved or underinsured, that kind of thing. But they’re also getting a holistic health experience,” said volunteer Amoy Johnson-Adams.
Church officials say the free clinic took a year to organize. They say over 100 volunteers are providing treatment as well as working behind the scenes to make the event a success.
Volunteer coordinator Lilliam Santana says they were able to get a variety of people from many different places to help.
“High schools, universities; we have local doctors, local dentists, we also have optometrists. All from within our community,” Santana said.
She says there may be economic and language barriers that prevent community members from seeking routine health care.
“They can’t afford it,” Santana added. “They don’t have those added services like dental or vision. They might just have medical. So this is an opportunity to get those services for free here.”
Everyone at the mega-clinic said health education is as important as health care.
The clinic offered a wellness section where people could learn about making healthy lifestyle choices. Volunteers counseled attendees about the importance of diet and exercise.
Dr. Dona Cooper-Dockery, the general health director for the mega-clinic, said the challenge is to educate the people and put what they’ve learned at the event into practice.
“How do they go back home and ensure that they change their lifestyle, so we can decrease the incidence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity,” Dockery said.
Religious leaders who put the event together say they want to bring hope and wholeness to the participants.
“Health is not just one thing. It’s everything,” Johnson-Adams said.