Celebrating fourth year anniversary this October, the Shifa Free Health Clinic addresses the health of the community’s vulnerable populations: the underserved, uninsured individuals and families living at, or below the federal poverty level. The health clinic was founded in October of 2015, after a pharmacist based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Raza Ulhaq, had noticed substantial numbers of individuals approaching him for medical advice during the congregational (Friday) prayer at his local mosque. He immediately understood that there was a need within the community for accessible healthcare. Ulhaq, the current executive director, began striking conversations with local physicians to see why there were individuals who were falling through the cracks. A few months later, the clinic was established in a faith-based center located on Shamrock Drive. Rooted in the Islamic principles of social welfare and compassion, the clinic’s founders recognized that it was part of their mission to undertake the healthcare needs of community members.
The clinic opens its doors to all, regardless of religious and race affiliation, embodying a genuine spirit of the religion’s call to serve one’s neighbors, near and far, generously.
The clinic is open bi-monthly (the 2nd and 4th Saturday) from 10:00 am to 2 pm and composed of a fully volunteer-based staff. Eight physicians and several volunteers, each fulfilling a certain role, collaborate to provide health services that range from primary care and physical therapy to pharmaceutical needs. Volunteers, the backbone of the clinic, brings various experiences, knowledge, and diversity to the table. The majority are professionals and students from different walks of life, some from local universities, including UNC Charlotte, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State University, Wingate University, and Winthrop University. The clinic recognizes the value of providing learning opportunities to potential leaders in the health care system with firsthand experience of the value of culturally competent care. Several volunteers speak multiple languages (Spanish, French, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Pashtoon, Chinese etc.,) hence guiding the patients from different countries, cultures and refugee centers through the clinic’s processes and care.
Shifa clinic also has a physical therapist on site during the clinic hours for consultation. The clinic primarily provides health check-ups, consultations, prescriptions, and discounted lab tests. Appointments are not necessary and all financially eligible patients are welcomed. Emergency care or specialized care, such as children’s or prenatal care, is not offered at this point; however, the clinic is working towards expanding services. The Shifa Free Health Clinic also hosts multiple events during the course of the year like providing over the counter medications, hosting Diabetes education centers, Insurance counselling from the experts, universities providing Dietitian on site. One of the most prominent events is the Free Medicine Giveaway Day, where the clinic hosts a mobile free pharmacy to provide adults and children in need with over the counter medicine, such as aspirin, allergy medicine, cough and cold and multivitamins. A recurring event hosted throughout the year, the clinic extends an invitation to all community members; presentation of an I.D. is not required to obtain medications.
In Collaboration with other charity organizations, Shifa Clinic facilitates distribution of free food boxes during the clinic hours. If you have any questions or want to volunteer, please call or text 704-706-7856 or stop by for a chat during clinic hours.