Shifa, by translation, means curing or healing. It is no coincidence that Dr. Reshma Khan, Founder and Director of the Shifa Free Medical Clinic, chose such an appropriate name for her organization. Not only does the staff at Shifa Free Medical Clinic offer high quality medical care to the uninsured and underinsured, but they practice the Islamic teachings of compassion, mercy and service to humanity.
The Shifa Free Medical Clinic was started in 2012 when Dr. Khan felt the call to volunteer. It originally started with Khan only offering gynecological services, based off of her specialty, with nothing but two rooms, an office and a computer. Today the clinic offers GYN care as well as primary care, vision care, mental health, pediatrics, prediabetes and diabetes education classes. It also has an on-site dispensary for medications and provides on-site minor surgical procedures and pelvic ultrasounds. The clinic does all this with six providers to who are serving the people of Mount Pleasant, S.C.
“Initially I did not envision all of this. I just wanted to volunteer,” Khan, said. “Now we’ve grown to serve more people, and provide outreach programs to the community.”
In addition to medical services, the Shifa Free Medical Clinic offers a food pantry, a child hunger prevention program, a back-to-school supplies drive, the Shifa closet and educational opportunities.
As a caritas grantee, the Shifa Free Medical Clinic used their funding from the Foundation to focus on building their food pantry and child hunger prevention program. In 2016, the food pantry alone served almost 6,000 people. The food pantry also serves many kinship families from another of our grantees, HALOS.
A challenge that the Shifa clinic has faced is the language barrier between patients and providers. Over 50 percent of their patient population is Hispanic. Although this challenge exists, the clinic is addressing it through the help of translators. Not only does the clinic use translators for medical services, but several of the educational opportunities, such as the diabetes prevention and cervical cancer awareness programs, are provided in both English and Spanish.
“We focus on quality, not quantity,” Khan said. “We often spend an hour with our patients, explaining to them what is actually happening to them. Whether we’re working with translators to do this, or talking one-on-one, we try to earn the trust of each patient.”
Khan, who was just awarded the 2017 Trident United Way Women’s Leadership Council “Nonprofit Leader” Award, has chosen to dedicate her time entirely to the clinic.
“My husband and I sat down and decided I could leave my job in order to support the work of the clinic. So many people have much less than we do, so we decided I can dedicate myself fully to the clinic,” Khan said.
The clinic exists to provide compassionate and high quality care to their patients. Many of the services that the Shifa clinic provides cannot be obtained anywhere else in the state at no cost to the patient. The clinic webpage says the best ways to help are through monetary donations, and support of its outreach programs. To learn about how you can help visit their website here.