RAM OF VIRGINIA
Virginia lies in the heart of the most economically distressed region of the United States. RAM’s yearly event in Wise, Virginia sees thousands of local citizens who rely on the no-cost clinic for all of the health care needs.
Our RAM of Virginia branch holds several clinics each year to address the state’s unwavering problems with health care access. See our 2017 mobile clinic schedule and meet the RAM of Virginia team below.
2018 RAM of Virginia Schedule
Buena Vista, VA
March 10, 6:00 a.m. – TBD
March 11, 6:00 a.m. – TBD
Southern Virginia University, 1 University Hill Drive.
Buena Vista, VA 24416 United States
Remote Area Medical of Virginia Board of Directors
|Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss, OD, F.V.A.O.
|Dr. Doug Weiss, OD, F.V.A.O.
|Joe Smiddy, MD
|Dr. Barbara van Kuiken, Ph.D
|John Watters, MD
| Jennifer Jolliffe
Vicki Weiss, President of RAM of Virginia, leads community members in recruiting volunteers, raising funds, and serving the state.
Meet Dr. Weiss
Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss, Optometrist, F.V.A.O. earned her B.S. in Psychology from the College of William & Mary and Doctor of Optometry from the State University of New York College of Optometry in 1989. Upon graduation she received the Dr. Max Cohen Award from the Optometric Center of New York for Outstanding Community Service.
She has been a member of VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) since 1985 and member of the AOA (American Optometric Association) since 1985. During Optometry school Dr. Molnar Weiss traveled to Honduras with VOSH Maryland and the newly formed SUNY VOSH Chapter. With VOSH Northeast she traveled to Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Dr. Weiss worked for the William F. Ryan Community Health Center in New York City for 6 years. The Ryan Center is a landmark, federally based clinic with a model that many other clinics in NYC and elsewhere have followed. While living in the city, she worked as an associate in the practice of Dr. Lawrence Forgacs a contact lens specialty practice in Manhattan. She conducted on site exams with NY Downtown Hospital’s Kress Vision Program providing on site exams at shelters, soup kitchens, senior centers, and for the homebound using portable examination equipment.
Dr. Victoria Weiss currently has a private practice at Lake Monticello in Fluvanna County, Virginia which was established in 1999 with her husband, Dr. Douglas Weiss. Since 1997, Dr. Victoria Weiss has been providing eye care in over 14 nursing and assisted living facilities in Central Virginia. The practice of Drs. Douglas & Victoria Weiss is one of two providers of Vision Therapy in the Charlottesville area. Dr. Weiss is a provider with the new Blue Ridge PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) location.
In 2006 Drs. Douglas & Victoria Weiss were voted business persons of the year by the Fluvanna County Chamber of Commerce largely due to their outreach efforts. In 2009 Drs. Douglas & Victoria Molnar Weiss were the alumni of the year at the State University of NY College of Optometry. Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss became a Fellow of the Virginia Academy of Optometry in 2011. Dr. Victoria Weiss is a Virginia Lions Hearing Foundation Elbyrne G. Gill Fellow, and in March, 2014, she was officially sworn in as a Lion in the Rivanna Lion’s Club.
Dr. Weiss was the founding President of VOSH-Virginia and is now the current Vice President. She also helped establish the Wise-RAM (Remote Area Medical) clinic held in Wise, VA each summer. Since the initial clinic, Dr. Weiss has been the Vision Director in Wise for 15 years, in Grundy for 8 years in Grundy and in Buena Vista 3 times. After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf of Mexico, she stepped up to the Vision Director role for 3 clinics in New Orleans. In total, she has participated in over 45 RAM Clinics.
In 2015 Dr. Victoria Weiss was honored to become a member of The Franklin Harms Society of VOSH International. Additionally, she has been asked to be a speaker at the VOSH International Annual Meeting in New Orleans during the American Academy of Optometry Meeting. Dr. Weiss has also been active in volunteering at Albemarle High School both in the Drama and Music departments for the past 8 years. She also likes to ski and go to the gym to take step, cycle, and Pilates classes.
During elementary school, she remembers donating clothes and toys to “Appalachia.” She still remembers wanting to go there to help. It has been a lifelong goal she shares with her husband Dr. Douglas Weiss to try to “make a difference” in the lives of others. When she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia she heard a presentation by Sister Bernadette Kenny from the Health Wagon in southwest Virginia and realized that she would finally be able to work with the residents of Appalachia. It has always been important to help people see better in other countries, but to do that in your own backyard is even more powerful.
She is proud that VOSH and RAM become such an important part of the lives of her sons, Jeremy and Justin, and her husband Dr. Doug. Both Jeremy and Justin are now in college, and a big part of who they have become is due to their experience with RAM. The boys have been to at least 25 RAM clinics, including Wise and New Orleans.
The great thing about providing vision care, as well as RAM, is that you help patients detect eye diseases and other systemic diseases such as Diabetes and Glaucoma. Additionally, you solve a very basic problem of the need for glasses right on the spot. It is an immediate fix to something that most of us take for granted. The patient can finally safely drive and work on a computer so they can pursue their schooling or job. So simple yet so important.
Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss was asked by Stan Brock, Founder and President of Remote Area Medical®, to lead RAM of Virginia’s new Affiliate in April 2015. She gracefully accept this exciting challenge and is now the President of the Board of Directors for RAM of Virginia. She has been helping to expand operations in Virginia and will have 5 clinics in 2015. So far for 2016 we have 7 clinics on the calendar for Virginia.
Accreditations and Awards
Board Academy Graduate 2016 Center for Non Profit Excellence
Ken Studer Friend of the Virginia Rural Health Association Award 2016
Humanitarian of the Year VOSH International 2015
Adjunct Faculty SUNY State College of Optometry
Virginia College of Optometry Board of Trustees
RAM Virginia Vision Director
The Franklin Harms Society Member-VOSH
United Way of Southwest Virginia Volunteer of the Year in Health 2015
RAM of VA In the News
A Vision for Bringing Health Care to the Poor
By Nicole Wallace
PICTURE BY JASON ANDREW FOR THE CHRONICLE
When Remote Area Medical holds free health clinics, usually in economically struggling rural areas, people often start to line up a day or even two days ahead of time. Most, however, aren’t there because they’re ill or want to get a checkup.
“They’re coming because we fix their teeth, and we make them eyeglasses,” says Stan Brock, founder of the health charity. “When they’re sick, they go to the emergency room.”
When a clinic starts, everyone in line gets a number and selects whether they want to see a dentist, eye doctor, or physician. The rough breakdown: Seventy percent sign up to see a dentist, while most of the rest choose an eye doctor.
Remote Area Medical tries to persuade as many people as possible to see a medical doctor while they wait for the other services. It’s not uncommon for those examinations to uncover conditions patients didn’t know they had, like high blood pressure, diabetes, or, in a few cases, cancer.
Mr. Brock, who co-hosted the nature program Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom in the 1960s, founded the organization in 1985 to provide medical care in developing countries. He was inspired by an experience he had as a teenager in South America: Working as a cowboy in a remote region of what was then British Guiana, he was badly injured by a wild horse, hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor. Reaching help would have taken days.
Later, Remote Area Medical turned its attention to the United States, where it has held more than 800 clinics and served more than 700,000 patients. The group’s annual budget of $3.1 million comes entirely from individuals and foundations.
Mr. Brock is stoic about the health-care debate on Capitol Hill. Remote Area Medical has never seen a downtick in the need for its services.
“The Affordable Care Act made absolutely no difference to our members,” he says. “The people in this country who can’t afford insurance or can’t afford to go to the dentist or the eye doctor are there in the millions.”