Pursuing its mission to foster health, wellness and healing in the inner-city, IMAN has provided primary healthcare services to residents of Chicago Lawn and neighboring communities for over 15 years. A longtime patient asked our Clinic staff earlier this year: “When are you going to get a dentist?” That time has now come. After several years of engagement and planning with residents, healthcare leaders and supporters, IMAN’s Oral Health Center opened its doors on May 15th.
IMAN serves an area that has been designated as a dental Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA), meaning that there are too few dentists to adequately serve the community’s needs. A dental HPSA, at best, contains one dentist for every 5,000 people. With the generous support of Zakat Foundation of America and United Muslim Relief, IMAN now offers dental screenings, teeth cleaning, fluoride application and oral health education every Sunday. We are blessed to have Dr. Susana Torres, who is bilingual and can serve both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking patients. Patients requiring additional treatment will be referred to St. Bernard Hospital or the Health Care Center Dental Clinic.
For many, dental care too often goes unaddressed. When teeth are unhealthy, the rest of the body is likely to suffer negative consequences. Poor oral health can lead to heart attacks, irregular and erratic blood sugar levels, infections, and permanent loss of teeth; not to mention severe pain and difficulty chewing and speaking.
IMAN is in the process of applying to become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which will enable us to serve more patients in the Clinic and to expand dental services. Providing dental services is a requirement to achieve FQHC status. God willing, the IMAN Oral Health Center will extend its hours, as well as expand its services to include x-rays, fillings, extractions, and treatment for gum disease.