IMAN’s work of service and organizing in Urban America is part of a long tradition of such work by the American, especially Blackamerican, Muslim community. The IMAN Health Clinic and our other health care work are also connected to and build on similar work being done in other cities. One such model that continues to inspire us is the health care and policy work being done through the growing efforts of the Health Unity on Davison Avenue (HUDA) Clinic run by the Muslim Center of Detroit.
HUDA Clinic was founded in 2004 to serve the uninsured population of Detroit and is run by physicians, medical students, nurses, social workers and other members of the Detroit Muslim community. Inspired by the Muslim principles of compassion and service, HUDA Clinic’s mission is to promote health and wellness by providing quality and free health care, pharmaceuticals, and preventative services to the uninsured. While the Clinic provides services to the uninsured from the entire Detroit metro, it is located in the inner-city, in a community that has long suffered neglect and marginalization leading to extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and poverty. For many of these working poor and unemployed who have no health insurance, the HUDA Clinic is literally a lifeline.
As IMAN moves toward broadening both its services/expertise in health care delivery and its impact on health care policy/debates, two separate delegations from IMAN have visited HUDA Clinic in the last three months. In August, leaders from IMAN took a tour of the Clinic and met with its Board members, while Rami Nashashibi, IMAN’s Executive Director, was a speaker at a fundraiser for the Clinic earlier in October. These recent contacts and meetings have reinforced earlier contacts between IMAN’s Health Clinic and the HUDA Clinic. Beyond a solid commitment to basic health care accessibility being a human right for all that can’t be compromised, IMAN’s leadership believes that there is also a shared understanding between the two Clinics that our health care work has to be both holistic–including culturally competent services, prevention, education–and systemic–including policy, advocacy and legislative work.
Largely thanks to the critical support provided by Islamic Relief USA, we are approaching the one-year anniversary of the Health Clinic’s first Medical Director, Dr. Altaf Kaiseruddin, and we are moving ahead in both the holistic and systemic directions. Under the leadership of Dr. Kaiseruddin, the Clinic is on pace to expand its operations to 5 days/week and increase the number of patients by 67% by the end of this year. Efforts aimed at preventative care and community education are also picking up pace, with the second installment of the BodyWorks health and wellness classes offered at IMAN having just concluded.
Another impact of this funding from Islamic Relief USA and the leadership of Dr. Kaiseruddin may be seen in the policy and advocacy work that IMAN is planning to do in the health care arena. “By allowing us to bring in the leadership of Dr. Kaiseruddin, Islamic Relief has helped to increase IMAN’s overall expertise in health care and, therefore, our ability to contribute to the broader conversation around health care options and policy,” said Mark Crain, IMAN’s Communication Coordinator.
Making connections with HUDA Clinic will help IMAN’s health care work as we move forward to meet the challenge and the opportunity that awaits the Muslim community: increasing our participation as a voice for the core principle of human dignity in the ongoing debates