Sick & Tired

Many of the 2000 patients who have visited IMAN’s Free Community Health Clinic in 2015 have come in sick and often very tired.

Though the most recent Affordable Care Act victory continues to protect the health care subsidies of millions of Americans, millions more remain outside of that safety net. So many still lack access to quality, culturally competent health care, and are still sick and tired of dealing with the vast array of health issues prevalent in working-class communities of color like IMAN’s. In 2015, our patients have come from almost every zip code in the city. Whether they were seeking bClinic Staff 2015asic primary care or behavioral health counseling, IMAN doctors, nurses, volunteers and staff continue to do everything in their power to treat these individuals with the compassion and dignity they deserve.

In the year since IMAN’s Health Clinic was designated “Best Affordable Health Care” in Chicago Reader’s “Best Of” series, it has continued to grow and expand. Not only have our hours and services increased, but also has our progress towards the larger vision of becoming a Federally Qualified Health Center, with even more resources and opportunities available for all of our patients.

One day soon, God willing, IMAN’s clinic will be significantly sustained via the resources generated through a federally reimbursed billing process. For now, though, this clinic and its thousands of patients across the Chicagoland area rely on YOU.

Please make your tax-deductible and zakat-eligible donation to IMAN’s 2015 Ramadan Drive today to help sustain and grow these vital, life-giving services in this sacred month.

“Hood Disease” and Healing This Ramadan

Last year, a San Francisco news station reported on a CDC study chronicling the disproportionate levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD—usually associated with war veterans) among mostly black and brown youth living in the inner-city. In the segment, the reporter quoted someone who called the condition “Hood Disease,” and the offensive term went viral.Hood Disease

If there were a disease connected to this social reality, it should have been one calling out years of our collective silence and indifference. This inaction amounts to our complicity in the structural and systemic factors that have led to epidemic levels of violence in neighborhoods around the country, like the one IMAN works in. Failing schools, lack of meaningful employment, an eviscerated safety net and a host of conditions that criminalize and further marginalize youth of color make violence all but inevitable in certain zip codes.

Ramadan is a time for us to honestly examine our spiritual and social realities, and to actually work towards a greater healing. Through its free behavioral health services, youth programs, corner store intervention work, housing rehabilitation and weekly farmers’ market, IMAN is attempting to do its part to contribute to this collective healing process.

Please pray for our work during this special month and help us to reach and exceed our 2015 Ramadan Drive Goal with your generous zakat-eligible, tax-deductible donation.  We can’t do this work without your support. May the Most High envelop us all in the spirit of Mercy and Healing this Ramadan!

National Health Forum Calls for Community Organizing

IMANNACHCFrom March 18th to 22nd, an IMAN delegation visited Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Community Health Centers’ (NACHC) Policy and Issues Forum, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of U.S. Community Health Centers. The Forum engaged leaders in the community health field, hosted discussions on best practices, and, most importantly, was a site of intense advocacy. Health care funding is at a critical stage: If Congress does not act, the Health Center Fund will expire on September 30, 2015, reducing funding up to 70%.

IMANNACHC2During this four-day trip, we heard IMAN’s community health model being confirmed — that our present health clinic and future health center must always be an integral part of community organizing work. While in D.C., IMAN staff learned from Congressman Danny K. Davis and other long-time activists that the history of community health centers in the United States is steeped in intentional community activism. Dolores Huerta, who famously organized with Cesar Chavez, delivered a passionate speech stating that community organizers should be part of every community health center’s staff. Steadfast in commitment to dignity and justice, we must never lose sight of the fact that health care is a human right and protecting resources that provide these services is critical.

Safe Spaces and New Faces at IMAN Health Clinic

On February 14, IMAN’s Health Clinic partnered with HEART Women & Girls to host an event supporting ‘V-Day’ – the international movement to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. Attendees had a lively discussion about factors that can lead to domestic violence, as well as ways to avoid problematic relationships with abusers. Sarah Hasan of HEART Women & Girls spoke about the importance of creating safe environments that allow people to speak about violence they may be experiencing. As the event ended, those in attendance committed to becoming supporters for survivors of violence in the community.

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Continuing the work of bolstering community support, IMAN’s Behavioral Health Program has happily accepted two graduate student interns from the University of Chicago School of Service Administration. Sherylene Heah (‘16) and Hannah Zangwill (‘16) began their internships on January 13th, and will serve for the remainder of the academic year. They each have previous experience at the TCA Health Inc. clinic on Chicago’s South Side. Sherylene, a native of Malaysia, has previous medical social work experience in Singapore and is interested in chronic disease management. Hannah, originally from Georgia, has an interest in working with the aged. Sherylene and Hannah will spend two days a week at the Health Clinic, where they’ll be familiarized with behavioral health issues, receive clinical training, case management and cultural competency skills.