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IRT Hoosier Care Offers Free Medical Care to Community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Amber Anderson,
  • 181st Intelligence Wing Public Affairs

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - An Innovative Readiness Training mission called IRT Hoosier Care provides vision exams, single-vision eyeglasses, dental exams and extractions and basic medical exams — including youth sports physicals — at no cost to the public June 7-14.

Service members came from across the globe to provide care and set up the clinic.

According to Air Force Capt. Rebecca Adams, a logistics readiness officer with the 181st Logistics Readiness Squadron and medical logistics officer-in-charge for IRT Hoosier Care, service members transformed the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club into an IRT mission site from over a dozen consolidated asset management system, or CAMS, shipping containers of non-consumable goods, several pallets of consumable goods, and donated office materials and furniture from community partners. Service members completed the transformation in a day and half.

With the clinic set up, service members are now armed with the medical equipment to serve the community.

“IRT brings a phenomenal opportunity for people who don’t have vision and dental insurance to get those needs met, as well as connect with medical providers for screenings, well-child visits, and a follow-on link to the local health centers in the area.” said Air Force Lt. Col. Nicole Stilianos, a member of the 181st Medical Group and medical lead officer-in-charge for IRT Hoosier Care.

Stilianos said the community is in a rural, underserved area and the city itself has a low immunization rate. Consequently, the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana Immunization Coalition were invited to participate in the mission. 

The resources are meaningful to the underserved communities.

“I grew up wishing that my mom didn’t have to worry about money to take me to the dentist to get my teeth checked or to go to the doctor to get a checkup,” said Air Force Airman Victoriana Sweet, a dental technician for the 181st MDG. “This is so exciting because I know a lot of parents are struggling to find the money to help their kids out. This is a way that we can help them.”

The provision of free services also fulfills a military need.

The IRT mission provides the military with hands-on training to enhance military readiness, and it comprises a partnership of Air National Guard units, Active-Duty Air Force, Army units and local organizations.

“This is an amazing mission for the military to do training for instances like a natural disaster,” said Stilianos. “We are trained to come on site and do immediate medical attention, but an IRT prepares us to be on-site longer to meet the preventative and acute needs of the community.”

“As it states in the name, readiness is a big focus in the military,” said Air Force Senior Airman Kimberly Goodson, a diet therapy technician with the 673rd Medical Group. “The IRT mission has given me the opportunity to train in the real world and the chance to perform my duties and also provide the community with medical services at no cost.”

Led by Terre Haute’s own 181st Intelligence Wing, IRT Hoosier Care is a Department of Defense IRT partnership that provides no-cost services to the community and real-world training to service members.