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180th Medical Group servicemembers help to provide free healthcare services

Carroll County -- Three 180th Medical Group servicemembers served alongside approximately 75 Air National Guard Airmen and National Guard Soldiers in the 2010 GuardCare Aug. 21-22 at the Carroll County Fairgrounds in Carolton, Ohio. GuardCare, a program that was initiated in 1995 by the Ohio National Guard, offers free health care services to those in under-served communities in Ohio.

Lt. Col. Amy Whitehead, medical administrator, Maj. Jennifer Ludwig, dental officer and Chief Master Sgt. Laurie Liebich, senior health administrator, provided health care to approximately 800 Ohio residents over the weekend.

"The event is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health and run by the Ohio Adjutant General's Department," said Whitehead. "This was the first year that the Air National Guard could support it. We provided everything from sports physicals to flu shots. Anyone and everyone could participate. There were no income guidelines or restrictions."

In addition to physicals and immunizations, the GuardCare event provided laboratory screenings, women's health exams, dental exams, hearing and vision screenings, pulmonary testing and mammograms.

"All results from the testing were sent to the health department then to the participant at their home address," said Whitehead. "The patient could then give the results to their family physician."

The Army National Guard has been conducting the free screenings for about 15 years, said Whitehead. The ODH selects a rural county that has a need for this type of service. Guardcare is held in a different county every year and typically spans two weekends. The event traditionally is a marriage between the Guard and local health service professionals and community service providers.

According to their website, "GuardCare is a clear example of how the military is applying wartime assets for the good of U.S. citizens by closing the gap for those who need health care and cannot afford it."

"It is an amazing program," said Whitehead. "You are coming together to help people from all walks of life and all ages. We hope to continue to support this invaluable event."



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