UMMA Clinic Honored by US House of Representatives

The UMMA Clinic in Los Angeles has increasingly been the focus of mainstream attention, receiving a special recognition before the US House of Representatives, in addition to special commendations by the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It has also received the National Philanthropy Day award for outstanding volunteer project.

Recently, the federal government awarded UMMA with its federally qualified health center (FQHC) look-alike status, a highly competitive and desirable position that will make it eligible for special federal grant money.
The UMMA Clinic is the first charitable medical institution established by Muslim Americans in the United States. Now in its 10th year, UMMA is the acronym for the University Muslim Medical Association.
The Clinic extends treatment to 17,000 patients in South Central Los Angeles, one of the poorest inner-city communities in the US over 95% of whom are Latino and African Americans. UMMA's aim has been to serve humanity at large, not just Muslims.

UMMA was launched by UCLA students, opening its doors in 1996 after a 5-year struggle for its establlishment. The students goal was to create a clinic that would serve the local population, irrespective of race or creed. The initiative marked an expression of their Islamic faith, based on the premise that Muslims can best exemplify their faith through their good work. However, they stressed a collaborative approach, working with local government, and other institutions, and garnering support of people from diverse faiths and backgrounds

The students first approached the LA City Councilperson for the South Central area, and with her help, they received $1.2 million in grant money from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the city's development department. A crack-house was subsequently established which was later transformed into a state-of-the-art medical facility.

Starting first as a volunteer-based clinic operating 2 days a week, UMMA now has 15 fulltime employees, and draws upon a large pool of volunteer physicians from every conceivable faith and background. UMMA is also a teaching facility, and medical students and resident physicians work here as part of their training programs at UCLA, Children’s Hospital and other institutions.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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