APPNA-Az Organizes Free Clinic
By Yousuf Bhuvad
The Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, Arizona Chapter (APPNA-Az) organized a free health clinic on Saturday, June 5th, 2010 in partnership with the Cultural Cup Food Bank. This initiative was part of a National Health Care Day program launched by the APPNA central organization. Twenty-five APPNA chapters across North America participated in the event with the mission of reaching out and giving back to the community we live in.
Dr Asim Khwaja, a radiologist from the East valley, drove the participation of the local chapter in the Phoenix area. His responsibilities included scheduling and coordinating with the volunteer doctors and facilitating the free clinic activities. Dr. Nadeem Kazi, Dr. Zulfiqar Farooqui, Dr. Asim Khwaja and Dr Rushda Mumtaz were among the participating physicians for the day. In addition, medical students from the Midwestern University Jamal Nadeem, Marc Kalin, Dawn Gaudenti and Alicia Stone-Zipse assisted the attending physicians in providing the care.
Dr. Tariq Khalil founded the free clinic two years ago with the help of the Cultural Cup Food Bank that provided the office space. Thanks to the dedication of the volunteer doctors, medical services are being provided every Saturday from 10am to 2pm at no cost to the patients. Dr. Asim, who is managing the free clinic currently, has pointed out that more help is needed to meet the demand. “We need to add more doctors to the pool to spread the burden and for long-term sustainability” he said.
The free clinic is housed in The Cultural Cup Food Bank. It is a non-profit 501c3 organization committed to providing the fresh, quality food in a manner that protects and maintains high level of dignity and respect.
Zarinah Awad, the Executive Director of the Cultural Food Bank, is appreciative of the financial support she receives from the community.
“The need for the food has increased because of the economy,” said Zarinah. “We run out of food on a daily basis and more food supply is needed to meet the need,” she pointed out. “Specifically, there is a big demand for the Halal food and we currently do not have any sources for it,” Zarinah said.
The Saint Mary Food Bank provides the bulk of the food.
The National Health Day concluded successfully in Phoenix with good participation by the doctors as well as the patients. A similar event was organized in Tucson, Arizona.