Monday, November 21, 2011

With the Health Fair behind us...

... what's in store?

We spent half of Saturday at the Hoover Crescent Mosque, with several generous Muslim physicians who were willing to volunteer their time, running a free health fair that was open to anyone who was interested. Services provided included blood pressure checks, body fat analysis, blood work including cholesterol (lipid panel) and blood sugar. After having their labs drawn every participant had the opportunity to discuss their results with a physician one on one. Over thirty people also took the opportunity to have flu shots done; many of these had never had a flu shot before, so we had a chance to provide medical services that had not been utilized before.

 A volunteer checking vital signs

A physician providing a one on one consultation

There was also an ENT physician available to anyone who needed advice on an Ear, Nose, Throat issues, and we had two ophthalmologists offering free vision screenings including testing for glaucoma. Some psychiatrists from the community also offered brief mental health consults to those who were interested. There was also printed educational material available for the participants to take home with them. So a very broad range of services was provided. Overall we had over fifty people come through in approximately four hours, so it was quite successful. The success, of course, was all in thanks to the physicians and students who volunteered their time to provide such a valuable service to the community.

The volunteers

The physicians involved

Br. Ashfaq Taufique providing an interview to CBS-42, one of our local TV stations

After the health fair we were joined by the President-Elect of APPNA (the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America), who few in especially for the event. The purpose of her visit was to attend the ground breaking ceremony of the Red Crescent Clinic of Alabama. This is a collaborative effort between APPNA's Alabama chapter and the Birmingham Islamic Society. At the Red Crescent Clinic, physicians will rotate to provide free medical care to anyone uninsured patient who wishes to take advantage of it, regardless of race or religious affiliation. Realistically we will be opening for only 4 hours every Sunday afternoon, but as opportunities arise there hopefully will be an expansion of services. The clinic concept is modeled after a similar one in Tampa, Florida. Plan is for the inauguration to be in January, 2012.

Left to Right: Br. Ashfaq Taufique (president, Birmingham Islamic Society), Dr. Khalid Matin (President APPNA-AL), Dr. Saima Zafar (president-elect APPNA's national organization) and Dr. Zakir Khan (principal coordinator of the 2nd annual APPNA AL health fair)

In the evening we attended the APPNA AL fall CME meeting and dinner at the Wynfrey, where we had an opportunity to meet some good friends we had not seen in quite a while.


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