The mission of the IMAN Health Clinic has always been to provide free, accessible and holistic health care to as many in the local community as possible. The most important part of increasing the Clinic’s capacity to see patients is to increase the number of sessions that it is open to the public. In this regard, the Clinic reached a new landmark last month: With the addition of a second session in the morning, Wednesdays have now become the first full day that the Clinic is open to patients. This full day of patient interaction on Wednesdays will also serve as a template for other full days that are in the planning phase.
Of course this increase in capacity and timing requires us to increase human resources and improve the technical infrastructure of the Clinic. Accordingly, in recent months, we have added three new volunteer physicians: Drs. Obaid Shafiq, Omar Ahmed and Muhammad Haque have all joined our team. We have also added several new volunteers to help with other needs of the Clinic. On the technical infrastructure side, we are working with several providers to implement a new medical billing system for the Clinic, in order to facilitate a more efficient operation.
Providing health care that is holistic and culturally competent also requires us to deepen our understanding of the specific needs and circumstances of the local community, and to look beyond treatment toward things such as education, prevention and making healthier choices available to local community residents. Such deepening of both knowledge of and relationships within our community, while continuing to grow the capacity and timings of the Clinic, has been my primary challenge, since starting as the Clinic’s Medical Director about 18 months ago.
Regarding this other main task of the Clinic, i.e. the deepening of the relationship with our community and its residents, there are three main areas we are focusing on in detail: determining needs, educating, and creating solutions. As an example of determining needs specific to our community, the Health Clinic is conducting surveys around the issue of violence that is a prevalent part of the personal and social reality of local residents. This survey is actually the start of a violence prevention initiative in the community. In the area of community education, Clinic staff is working with Muslim Run: A Campaign for Health, Wellness and Healing to produce the health education component of that campaign.
Finally, and most importantly, the Health Clinic has several creative and collaborative projects underway to implement solutions and interventions for our community residents. As one example, we have hired an intern to work on a grassroots strategy of health management outreach: The intern will pick several health conditions and for each condition form a small support group run by qualified personnel to better address the health concerns of patients alongside their Clinic visits. In another example, Clinic staff is working with the South Side Healthcare Collaborative to improve access to specialty care in the area.
This is an exciting time to be part of the IMAN Health Clinic. Due to planning and development on our part, and thanks to crucial support from our donors and partners, we are continuing to meet the growing demand for our health care and services.
IMAN’s Health Clinic is funded in part by Islamic Relief USA.