Shifa Clinic Athens hosted its first open house event yesterday starting at 10:30 a.m. to publicize and advocate their resources and services to the Athens community.
Shifa Clinics, founded and organized by the Islamic Circle of North America, work to provide free healthcare for uninsured or underinsured individuals across the nation.
Shifa Clinic Athens, located off Huntington Road, was founded in April 2016 by a group of University of Georgia seniors.
Hamzah Ali, Faiz Saulat, Abdus Subhan, Vraj Patel, Ummar Jamal and Clifvonne Webb have been working since the start of the clinic to gather personnel and resources for the open house.
“If you have an idea or something you want to do, there are tools in your community that enable you to do it,” Ali said. “It just takes executing a plan, hard work and time management.”
The open house included food and refreshments, free blood pressure screenings and guest speakers, including Mayor Nancy Denson.
Dozens of medical professionals, ICNA members, UGA students and other Athens citizens gathered to celebrate the progress of the clinic.
“One of our goals from this open house is to improve and grow,” said Abby Temple, junior genetics and philosophy major from McDonough. “Since April, we’ve watched patient numbers go from one person a week to five people a week.”
Members of organizations such as Athens Nurses Clinic and Mercy Health Center also attended the open house in order to provide support for the clinic’s goals and objectives.
“There are so many people who need help,” said Paige Cummings, executive director of Athens Nurses Clinic. “We must work together.”
Because Mercy Health Center is open Monday through Friday, Ali and his fellow companions made the decision to make the Shifa Clinic open to the public on the weekends.
As of today, the clinic is only open on Saturdays, but members hope to extend hours to Sundays in the near future.
The Athens location of Shifa Clinic is one of eight active clinics nationwide.
The seniors said they are proud of their accomplishments thus far and are happy to be giving back to their community.
“We decided we were going to be here for four years, and we wanted to give back,” Ali said. “We’ll leave this foundation behind. We’ll be gone, but it’ll still be here.”