Muslim Clinic Heals US Community
By Sahar Kassaimah, IOL Correspondent
WASHINGTON — Ten years after the opening of the first full-time charitable clinic at the US, University Muslim Medical Association (UMMA) is now serving about 16,000 American patients of all religious backgrounds who completely rely on its services for all their medical care.
"We started out with two paid employees supported by volunteer physicians and staff members, working only three days a week," said Dr. Mansur Khan, a co-founder and UMMA Board Vice Chairman, told IslamOnline.net.
"Now 10 years later, we have about 16,000 patients who completely rely on UMMA for all their medical care.
"We have 17 fulltime employees and operate fulltime five days a week."
Dr. Khan said they have hired physicians in addition to a large pool of volunteer physicians who volunteer usually once a month.
Dissatisfied with the lack of Muslim involvement in solving America's social issues, a small group of seven Muslim American students launched the project in 1996.
"Myself and six other UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) students came up with the idea in 1992," Dr. Khan remembers.
"Most of us were public health or medical students. We were dissatisfied with the lack of Muslim involvement in the partaking in and solving of domestic social issues.
"With so many Muslims involved with the health profession, it struck us that Muslims were not living up to their potential to do their part."
UMMA seeks to promote the well-being of the underserved by providing access to high quality healthcare for all, regardless of ability to pay.
It aims to help alleviate some of the needs of the surrounding community in regards to proper health care and medical treatment.
Based on statistics from Los Angeles city and county for local planning and health districts, 51 percent of the area's adult target population has no medical insurance at all, exceeding the county average of 31 percent.
Between 34 and 46 percent of area children lack insurance coverage.
Over two thirds of the clinic's adult patients have very low income or meet federal poverty criteria.