IRT Brings No-cost Healthcare To Hundreds

By: Shawn Magrath

IRT brings no-cost healthcare to hundreds (Shawn Magrath Photo)

NORWICH – Hundreds have claimed benefit from a military medical training exercise happening in Norwich that's brought no-cost medical, dental, optometric, pharmaceutical and veterinary services to the local community.

Greater Chenango Cares, the local nonprofit helping to organize the event, kicked-off the area's third IRT (short for Innovative Readiness Training) on Thursday. The collaboration between local government and nonprofit agencies and the U.S. Department of Defense provides no-cost healthcare to community members while also training service men and women to orchestrate healthcare services in times of crisis.

This marks the third year that the five military-staffed clinics have come to the Norwich Middle School/High School complex, one of the few locations IRT takes place in the entire northeast. Previous IRT events were held in Norwich in 2015 and 2016.

“Our mission is to provide no-cost community healthcare and we get the training ourselves,” said Lt. Mariam Kwamin, site officer in charge. “This is a good partnership between the military and the community. What we gain is the ability to simulate a deployed location, or what we would do in a deployed location, by having the actual clinic service staff here to provide services to the community.”

All clinics have been steadily busy, organizers say. But with patient numbers slightly lower compared to previous years, they're eager to spread the word of this win-win partnership between community and military.

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