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Free Muslim Clinic Serves about 4500 People a Year

In almost two decades, what started as a small service center in Fozia Ahmed’s basement has grown into a free clinic serving thousands every year regardless of faith and culture in Milwaukee.

Seeing need for social services in her community, Ahmed started the Muslim Community and Health Center in her basement in 2004.

In 2008, the center moved to borrow space from the nearby Salam Elementary School and in 2015 it began providing services six days a week for everyone regardless of faith.

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“Our door is open, and we’ll do almost anything to make sure people are taken care of,” Arman Tahir, director of operations at the clinic, told Urban Milwaukee.

Now, the clinic sees about 4,500 to 5,000 patients a year across its services which include primary care, behavioral health, a senior day center, and refugee resource center.

Helping Refugees

To serve refugees from different countries, the staff at the clinic can provide services in twelve languages, six languages are spoken in-house, and another six are provided through interpreters.

“It’s important for patients to be comfortable and confident,” Janan Najeeb, president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, said.

“When they realize that their culture is being taken into account, you’ll have a happier patient and better outcomes.”

Without that understanding, people will walk away from the experience without feeling heard.

“Many times, people have felt dismissed, especially if they don’t know English well,” Najeeb said.

“Sometimes they feel like doctors see them and get rid of them … We need to make more accommodations for people who have less understanding of the systems.”

The Muslim Community and Health Center of Wisconsin mission is to strengthen the Milwaukee community and increase the well-being of its residents by providing free and charitable health care services, social services, counseling, emergency assistance, educational and job-training programs.

MCHC’s guiding principles are based on the Muslim values of compassion, kindness, peace, and diversity.

According to 2010 estimates, Milwaukee had a population of 594,833. As few as 0.5% of the total population are Muslims.