MARYLAND – Much like other clinics in the US, the Muslim Community Center (MCC) Medical Clinic in Silver Springs, Maryland, is well equipped with state-of-the-art medical services, but it is also unique for offering all these services for free.
“This is a charitable clinic, but… we want it to look like any other clinic in the USA,” Dr Rashid Chotani, executive director of the MCC Medical Clinic, told Dawn.
“We serve the entire community, not the Muslim community alone.”
Serving people from all faiths, groups and geographical zones, the clinic’s staffers from around the world try to communicate with these patients in their native languages.
“We have a lot of people from the continent of Africa, we also have people who speak Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Spanish, French, you name it,” says a visibly proud Dr Chotani.
For Lori Indenbaum, a PA and internist, the clinic is a “medical home” and the diversity makes everyone feel welcome.
Fourteen years ago, Dr Qadri went to the MCC board of directors with the idea of opening a free clinic for those in the community who could not afford healthcare and did not have insurance to cover those costs.
In 2003, Dr Qadri officially opened the clinic. Initially it was run on a volunteer basis and opened only one day a week. In that entire year, the clinic saw 53 patients.
“I took this position to build this clinic so that we become a shining example. Now we are the largest faith-based multi-specialty safety net clinic in the USA… People have to come to the mosque to come and see us; they know it’s a Muslim setup, they know there are Pakistanis who are running it, we don’t have to say anything, we just need to provide care for them,” he adds.
“One of the things we have been doing since 9/11 is trying to build bridges and trying to create an environment where we are integrated, [while] at the same time keeping our roots and values alive. So in order for us to do that… we have to engage with the community,” he says.