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Muslim Community Comes Together to Start Community Health Center

by Avais C.

The University Muslim Medical Association (UMMA) Community Clinic is the first full-time community health center in the United States established by Muslims – a true milestone for Muslims of America.

Its mission is to promote the well-being of the underserved by providing access to high-quality health care for all, regardless of ability to pay. Located two blocks away from the flashpoint of the 1992 riots in South Los Angeles, the UMMA Community Clinic stands as the medical home for thousands of uninsured residents that have no other alternative.

Since its inception in 1996, UMMA has continued to provide a wide range of health-related services to children and adults in South Los Angeles. Our full range of primary and preventive health services includes diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic disease; women’s health care; pediatric care; family planning; health education; and more — through approximately 11,000 visits annually. We also provide referrals for additional care and social services, to support the overall well-being of each patient.

In addition to its high-quality care services, UMMA offers invaluable training experience to future physicians. Here, medical students and residents obtain hands-on experience providing care in an urban healthcare environment — while simultaneously expanding our own capacity to care for the under- and uninsured.

UMMA’s leadership role in providing healthcare access has been recognized both locally and nationally. In 2008, as noted above, UMMA’s chief executive officer, Yasser Aman, was invited by the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives to present at the Compassion in Action Roundtable in Washington, DC. UMMA, representing the Muslim-American contribution to charitable healthcare provision, was one of only three clinics in the nation invited to take part in this exclusive event.

Additionally, In July 2006, Congresswoman Maxine Waters made a formal statement on the floor of the House of Representatives, recognizing UMMA's 10 years of service to the South Los Angeles community. UMMA was also awarded the Best Practices Award by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1999.

Locally, UMMA was recognized as the most outstanding volunteer organization in Los Angeles on National Philanthropy Day in 2001. UMMA received a Community Coalition Activism Award in 2002. In 2004, we were recognized by the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles as a model of Muslim philanthropy, received commendations from the Los Angeles County Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council and were recognized by Cover the Uninsured Week 2004, a faith-based award program acknowledging our contribution to ameliorating the plight of the uninsured.

To learn more about the UMMA Community Clinic please visit us at www.ummaclinic.org

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