Los Angeles Muslims Raise Funds to Support Free Medical Clinic
A fundraiser on Nov. 18 for the University Muslim Medical Association clinic, the only free medical clinic in South-Central Los Angeles, brought in more than $284,000, allowing the facility to operate for another year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The clinic, founded in 1996 by a few Muslim medical students, has served 14,000 patients and become a "national model for Islamic social activism as the first Muslim health care project for the poor," the Times reports (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 11/20). The clinic was "threatened with closure" as its federal and city funding is set to expire this year. In the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Muslim medical students Yasser Aman and Mansur Khan "felt moved to reach out" and initially considered sponsoring a "medical trailer to drive through the city." After making "cold calls to dozens of medical supply companies," the two collected $150,000 in donated equipment and supplies. Los Angles City Council member Rita Walters helped the students obtain a $700,000 federal housing grant, which they used to renovate an abandoned auto repair shop. With a $680,000 two-year operating grant from the city, the clinic's "bare bones staff" has managed to keep the clinic running for more than four years. Medical students from the University of California-Los Angeles volunteer their time at the clinic as part of their training, and a pool of 20 physicians care for about 5,000 of the neighborhood's residents each year. The clinic offers adult care on Tuesdays and Thursdays and pediatric care on Wednesdays and Saturdays. "We wanted to show people that Muslims care about the rest of the community at large," Khan said (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 11/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.