One year ago, the IMAN Health Clinic took a large step forward in its commitment to sustainability and an increased level and quality of service when it hired Dr. Altaf Kaiseruddin to serve as its first full-time Medical Director. This hiring came with the generous support of Islamic Relief USA and represented both IMAN’s and Islamic Relief’s commitment to working in inner-city Chicago’s most underserved areas to broaden the scope of and conversation around healthcare access in the United States. We’re using this one-year anniversary to reflect on Dr. Kaiseruddin’s first year and some of the concrete goals the Clinic has achieved since November of 2010.
Dr. Kaiseruddin shares that the biggest accomplishment in his first year was “building relationships.” He adds, “It takes a long time and great effort to cultivate meaningful relationships. It’s a lot of work that may go unnoticed, but in the end it pays off the greatest professionally, personally and spiritually.” The importance of these relationships can’t be overstated. For example, they have allowed the Clinic to partner with a local university to provide free care for any Clinic patient identified as HIV-positive and are paving the way for a seminal partnership with a local hospital that will provide access to mental health care for Clinic patients on a scale we could only imagine previously. The IMAN Health Clinic has always relied on community support, but it has only been since hiring a dedicated Medical Director that it’s been able to grow and sustain relationships within the medical field in a way that could have lasting and transformative effects for our local community.
Outside of the medical field, these relationships have been deepened as well. For years, State Senator Jackie Collins has been an ardent supporter of IMAN’s work. This year she was engaged specifically around healthcare access in our neighborhood and we are currently exploring ways for collaboration with her office. We were also granted the opportunity to briefly meet with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, provide him a tour of our facilities and raise issues and concerns specific to IMAN and our community. These relationships and meetings are invaluable as we look to contribute more to national conversations on healthcare access and continuing reform.
Looking to 2012, Dr. Kaiseruddin is optimistic about the Health Clinic’s progress. In addition to continuing to implement health care best practices and shore up any structural weaknesses that might dampen the Clinic’s ability to expand services in the future, he is also focused on increasing Clinic hours toward the goal of being open full-time. “We are poised to make great strides that are going to, insha Allah, have a positive impact on individuals and the community at large we hope to server,” says Dr. Kaiseruddin.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Clinic or exploring other opportunities to contribute directly to its growth, please contact Clinic Administrator, Sister Adiba Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org.