Redmond, Ore. – More than 2,500 people attended this year’s Project Connect of Central Oregon, a one-stop free personal and health services event. For three years, members of the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR) have served and helped carry out the mission of Project Connect, which is to rally Central Oregon to support lasting solutions for those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in the region.
The medical area served an estimate one-third of the visitors. Volunteer healthcare professionals provided many medical services, including dental, vision, mental health, women’s health, HIV and hepatitis C screening and testing, immunizations, addiction services, fluoride treatments, foot care, and referral services.
In total 85 healthcare professionals served as official SERV-OR volunteers. These generous individuals included many types of healthcare professionals. The largest contingent was the 30 Registered Nurses. Other volunteers from the nursing field included four Nurse Practitioners, four Certified Nursing Assistants, and two Licensed Practical Nurses. A growing contingent of complementary and alternate care practitioners in SERV-OR was represented by nine acupuncturists, nine chiropractors, and one naturopathic physician. Four Emergency Medical Technicians volunteered, providing such services as blood pressure checks to ensure patients were able to undergo dental procedures. In the dental clinic itself, there were five dentists registered with SERV-OR, as well as one expanded practice dental hygienist. Many other clinicians volunteered and provided hours of service, though not as registered members of SERV-OR.
Major health service events like Project Connect can help exercise Oregon’s disaster response systems in partnership with other initiatives that serve current public health needs. SERV-OR volunteers were deployed as if it were a real mass casualty event and had their credentials verified as they would during an official state-sanctioned SERV-OR disaster deployment. The benefit to healthcare professionals during official state-sanctioned exercises such as this is significant, as they can receive state liability and worker protection coverage. The SERV-OR staff and stakeholders benefitted from the full-scale testing of deployment protocol, volunteer registration processes and legal policies. The event also doubles as a recruiting tool for SERV-OR volunteers and is an incredible testament to building community resiliency in our community.
Project Connect is a component of Central Oregon’s Regional 10-year Strategy to End Homelessness. The annual event is based on a national model called Project Homeless Connect, which originated in San Francisco in October 2004. Today, Project Connect is emulated in over 400 cities across the United States as well as Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia. Volunteers partner with government, non-profits, businesses, schools, and the private sector to provide a one-stop shop of health, social, and humanitarian services for struggling members of our communities.
Click for more about Project Connect of Central Oregon.
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